MOD defend mass widescreen TV purchases

The Ministry of Defence have defended the mass purchase of widescreen TVs in recent years, after claims they were used for viewing Test match cricket. Norman Lamb, Lib Dem MP for Norfolk, got things going on November 21:

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many widescreen televisions have been purchased by his Department for use in Whitehall Headquarters in each of the last five years; and at what cost in each year. [21097]

Adam Ingram (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence) responded:

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, as part of the Ministry of Defence Head Office building refurbishment, five widescreen televisions were purchased in financial year 2001–02 at a total cost of £12,500, and 134 at a total cost of £348,000 in financial year 2003–04.

£348,000 for a bunch of massive TVs in which to watch 11 England cricketers muck around on a pitch for a few days? Brilliant – at least it’s not football…good to see our taxes are being well spent. The BBC has more on this:

Mr Lamb told the BBC: “I was attending a meeting at the Ministry of Defence and I was walking through their open plan offices.

“I was completely gobsmacked by the number of televisions all around, in every work space.

“And they weren’t modest little things like we have here in the Houses of Parliament, with small screens. They were whopping great flat screen, wide screen sets.

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