MoD 'bans Philip Hammond from using military jets' over unpaid bill

Posted On: 
6th December 2017

Philip Hammond is reportedly at the centre of a bizarre Whitehall spat over a six-figure bill for using RAF jets and helicopters.

Philip Hammond pictured on a visit to Facebook's London HQ on Monday
Credit: 
PA

The Ministry of Defence is apparently refusing to let the Chancellor use the aircraft until the Treasury settles an unpaid debt for previous flights with No 32 (The Royal) Squadron.

A Defence source told the Times an order had been issued to officials responsible for VIP trips not to let Mr Hammond make any more bookings. 

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The paper says Mr Hammond has used MoD aircraft to fly to no fewer than 20 destinations on official business so far this year. 

It comes as new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is battling the Treasury to increase spending on the military, with Tory MPs also threatening to rebel over any further defence cuts. 

An MoD source said they were angry that the Exchequer was proposing tightening the ministry's belt while also refusing to pay up its bill.

“At the same time as claiming our brave armed forces don’t need any more money and that the army only needs 50,000 troops, it is a huge double standard to willingly use the armed forces’ facilities at the same time as refusing to pay for them,” the source told the Times.

However it is understood the Treasury is preparing to pay off the debt, with officials blaming administrative delays for the failure to cough up so far.