Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Biggest risk to MoD staff on danger money? Tripping up
By: Jason Lewis

CIVIL servants paid 'danger money' for working at the Ministry of Defence are more likely to be injured typing or tripping on a paving stone than in the line of fire, new figures reveal.

The department, which has been criticised for failing to provide frontline troops with adequate equipment, is also spending £1,000 a day for 'secure cars' for its top Whitehall mandarins.

The revelations come weeks after the Government defended paying MoD civil servants a total of £47million in performancerelated bonuses, citing the 'dangerous' nature of their jobs.

Now, the MoD's own statistics show 330 civil servants were hurt while on duty last year, but none in 'hostile environments'. A separate report reveals the department's insurers have paid out more than £60million in three years to cover staff compensation claims.

Eighty civil servants hurt themselves 'lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling items' including keyboards, ten were hurt in 'physical movement' such as exercise or drills and another ten 'struck against ... something stationary' such as a door.

The biggest risk to MoD staff was tripping, with 90 such injuries recorded, but no one was hurt by ammunition or explosives or in a 'hostile environment'.

Meanwhile, the MoD has revealed that from April to June this year, it spent £87,289 on secure cars for senior officials.

MoD Permanent Secretary Sir Bill Jeffrey's car use cost the taxpayer £14,615 and his deputy Ursula Brennan's car cost £9,045.

A spokesman said they needed official cars because they often carried top-secret documents.

He said: 'Our most senior staff use an official car where this makes good business sense and is justified by the nature of their appointment or command duties.' The spokesman said the MoD was reviewing the 'performance awards' received by 50,000 civilian staff, adding that 'if they are found to be inappropriate, they will be changed' under a new pay deal set for 2011.