Author Topic: Anger as cost of NATO HQ hits $1.3 B  (Read 1685 times)

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Anger as cost of NATO HQ hits $1.3 B
« on: February 07, 2011, 17:16:45 »
Anger as cost of NATO HQ hits $1.3 B

NATO's new headquarters in Brussels will cost its members $1.3 billion at a time of deep cuts to British defence budgets and despite promises by the Alliance to cut its costs.

Officials confirmed the scale of the rising bill Monday against a background of Nato pledges to reduce its command structure, agencies and national HQs by 30 per cent in response to deep defence cuts in most of its 28 member states.

Construction began in mid-December on a building to house military officials. It will have eight wings, and work is scheduled to finish in 2015.

John Glen, the British Conservative MP for Salisbury and a member of the Commons defence select committee, expressed "frustration" at the cost while British armed forces faced severe reductions.

"I find it very difficult to square news of this expenditure alongside the painful cuts that the MOD has had to bear," he said. "I would urge Liam Fox, the Secretary of State, to work with other defence ministers across Nato to reduce the burden on the exchequer."

Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary, said: "The government must be clearer that this is value for money for British taxpayers."

Alliance officials insist it is no longer possible to continue operating out of its "temporary" building given to Nato by Belgium in 1967.

A British government spokesman said Britain's contribution to the building's costs would be pounds 105?million. "We're scrutinizing it closely for value for money. It is important that Nato has a good HQ."

The disclosure of the cost came as Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary general, pleaded with governments not to cut Alliance spending too far or it would be "unable to defend the security on which our democratic societies and prosperous economies are based".

                              (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)