1 April 2011
The Ministry of Defence is to be broken up and
control of the armed forces handed to local authorities under the next phase of
the government’s localism drive.
Ministers have acted today after a series of
highly critical reports from the National Audit Office on inefficiency and
waste in MoD procurement and management.
Under their plans, each council would have its
own armed forces answerable to a directly elected military commissioner.
A Department for Communities and Local
Government spokesman said councils would be able to make efficiency savings by
declaring war on each other.
Those that proved victorious would be allowed to
enslave their defeated enemies’ back-office staff, who would then work without
Captured chief executives could be ransomed, but
only for sums less than the prime minister’s salary.
Housing minister Grant Shapps said a bonus
equivalent to six years’ worth of council tax per hectare would be paid to each
council that managed to conquer another’s territory.
Localised armed forces would comprise mainly
soldiers, but coastal councils would be able to apply for grants to set up
navies in a revival of the Sea Change programme.
Upper-tier councils would be allowed their own
air forces, while county councils would form ‘air power consortia’ in two tier
Nuclear weapons would be controlled by a
Whitehall residuary body and be rented out to councils that needed to clear
brownfield areas for regeneration.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘This
is real localism, but I don’t want it to stop at town halls.
‘Every council must involve residents in
creating neighbourhood military plans.’