The MOD has announced tranche three of the Armed Forces Redundancy Programme.
The Programme, announced in the Strategic Defence Security Review in October 2010, will see up to 5300 soldiers depart from the British Army, but will not involve the loss of any Royal Navy or Royal Air Force personnel.
Soldiers exempt from the cuts include those:
– recovering from a serious injury sustained on operations
– preparing for combat operations, unless they voluntarily apply
– on combat operations, unless they voluntarily apply
– recovering from combat operations, unless they voluntarily apply
It is expected that further redundancies for Army personnel and medical and dental personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force is likely.
MOD suggest that 82,000 regular soldiers will remain in service by 2018, down from 102,000 in 2010, whereas Reservist figures should double to 30,000 in 2018 from 15,000 in 2010.The overall aim is to help plug a £38bn hole in the defence budget.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The Army is actively managing recruitment to reach the target numbers, but unfortunately redundancies are unavoidable due to the size of the defence deficit that this Government inherited and the consequent scale of downsizing required in the Army. We will have smaller Armed Forces but they will in future be properly equipped and well funded, unlike before.”
Responding to the measures, Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy was critical of the increased emphasised which is to be placed on the Army Reserves in the future, questioning the impact these cuts will have beyond their defence implications and into areas such as general employment rates and economic stability :
“If we’re going to ask more of men and women in other jobs to be involved in the reservists, which can be a fantastic opportunity, we have to rely upon the goodwill and support of employers.
“If a reservist goes for an interview and they’re equally qualified with someone else who also goes for the interview, we have to work with employers to make sure they don’t have at the back of their mind: ‘My gosh, this employee, as a reservist, will be away for six months and I can’t cope with that as a company’.”