MOD's m bill for GQ, Cosmo and co: Military spends huge sums on magazines for staff at time of swingeing cuts



22:08 GMT, 25 December 2012

The Ministry of Defence is spending more than 500,000 a year on magazines and newspapers – at a time of swingeing military job losses.

Among the 930 titles the department subscribes to are Cosmopolitan, GQ, Glamour UK, Woman and, perhaps strangest of all, House Beautiful.

BBC Good Food, What Car, Top Gear and Mountain Bike Rider are also on subscription, though the military insist these magazines are not meant primarily for troops knee-deep in muddy ditches.

GQ April 11, 2011, w. Daisy Lowe on cover


The MoD have spent 617,000 on subscriptions to magazines such as GQ and Cosmopolitan

The glossies – referred to as
‘recreational titles’ – tend to be sent to those soldiers, sailors and
air crew who are recovering in hospitals and clinics. The revelation of
the 617,000 annual spend comes amid controversy over the dismissal of
tens of thousands of military staff and the axing of ships and planes in
budget cuts.

titles subscribed to include Thorax and Welding International, Concrete
Engineering, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict and the Journal of Head

However, if members were thinking of enjoying a coffee while reading the publications, they will no longer be able to do so.

have been banned from meetings in Whitehall, and coffee machines
removed from corridors. In January, the Army will embark on another
round of redundancies – but the MoD insists the magazines are good value
for money and good for morale

Forget the biscuits: There are no more biscuits at Whitehall meetings and the coffee machines have been removed

Forget the biscuits: There are no more biscuits at Whitehall meetings and the coffee machines have been removed

The department said subscriptions to magazines are given great scrutiny and units intending to buy them ‘must make robust cases for doing so’.

A spokesman said: ‘The MoD uses a pan-government contract to purchase journals on subscription, which provides a discount to the taxpayer.

‘The contract is primarily used for academic, technical, medical and trade publications for the MoD colleges, training centres, technical information centres and medical units, including those in operational theatres.’

He added: ‘A small number of recreational titles are taken for use in personnel recovery centres.’