As an aside here, how come today January 24, 2012, there has been talk of sending a UK military force if necessary to the Strait of Hormuz in support of others opposing Iran? How will we, the UK, have the manpower needed? They have already talked of reducing the numbers of regulars and going more down a path of territorial forces so will they bring forward this plan? If so it will no doubt be cheaper and less lucrative for those on the ground.
Now back to the original story. It has been revealed that the celebrity visits to front line troops in Afghanistan last year cost in excess of £400,000. A series of celebrity visits to Afghanistan was aimed at boosting morale. The list of combat wearing celebrities included footballer David Beckham, pop singer Cheryl Cole and classical singer Katherine Jenkins.
UK defence secretary Philip Hammond said, "Entertainment of members of the armed forces is, and has been for many years, an important element of the deployment welfare package."It helps to maintain morale and thereby the combat-effectiveness of service personnel."The MoD has a contract with Combined Services Entertainment to provide entertainment to members of the armed forces deployed overseas, including Afghanistan."The value of entertainment provided for Afghanistan against this contract during 2011 was £437,637."
Whilst we may see the need for good R and R we may not all be ecstatic at this huge cost. It can never be justified. After all the celebs will not have visited all military personnel but rather a select few. As to whether the cost inculded fees to the celebs involved, ministers are keeping tight lipped.
All Hammond would say was that "those who went were transported and accommodated alongside the armed forces"at minimal extra cost to the public purse"" That may be but something cost almost a half a million pounds and that cost should be explained.