HC Deb 28 November 1995 vol 267 c1045
10. Dr. Wright

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the level of fraud within his Department's operations. [819]

Mr. Arbuthnot

The level of fraud is low and the National Audit Office supports that assessment. We are, however, determined to bear down on fraud and are taking action against it with a wide range of measures.

Dr. Wright

In view of the recent damning report of the NAO on Ministry of Defence contract fraud, and the Gordon Foxley case in particular, will the Minister give a number of assurances that none of the firms involved in the Foxley case is still doing MOD work, that the MOD will not deal with any contractors who prevent employees from reporting fraud, and that it will put in place secure procedures to enable members of staff to report suspected fraud and to save taxpayers millions of pounds in the process?

Mr. Arbuthnot

As I said, we take this matter extremely seriously. I give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that he asks for that the firms involved are no longer given work by the Ministry of Defence. We have put in place, because we take the matter so seriously, a Defence fraud unit. We have also brought in a new code of procurement ethics. I am very pleased to say that the NAO's report was not damning because it displayed the fact that we have a huge budget and that a relatively tiny proportion of it is lost to fraud, partly due to the Government's vigilance and partly because of the very high standards expected of, and received from, our public servants.

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