Brown "suppressed" report revealing billions wasted by MoD

Government denies blocking report revealing £2.5bn wasted every year through MoD "incompetence"

The government has denied claims that Gordon Brown suppressed a report criticising ministers for wasting billions of pounds on defence procurement.

The report, commissioned by the former defence secretary John Hutton and led by the ex-defence aide Bernard Gray, had been due to be published before MPs broke up for the summer recess, but will now form part of a wider defence review. Downing Street said the report had been delayed because it was unfinished.

The study is said to have found that up to £2.5bn a year was being wasted because the Ministry of Defence failed to pay for procurement projects on time.

The shadow defence secretary, Liam Fox, said the report had been suppressed because it exposed "12 years of incompetence".

He said: "By trying to suppress this report, the Prime Minister has demonstrated that he cares more about the reputation of Labour than he does about the wellbeing of the armed forces. Gordon Brown, as Chancellor, was never willing to fund Tony Blair's wars; now that he is Prime Minister, he is trying to cover up his mistakes."

He added that the government had wasted money that could have been directed to frontline troops in Afghanistan.

"The government has a moral duty to ensure that our armed forces have the equipment they need for the war fighting they are asked to do; instead we have a catalogue of bureaucracy, incompetence and time wasting," he said.

Defence minister Kevan Jones denied claims that government defence spending was incompetent and said he did not recognise the £2.5bn figure.

He added that he was "working very closely" with ministers on a defence procurement green paper planned for early next year.