Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Army 'to cut more jobs' amid row

Thousands of soldiers could lose their jobs in a new wave of redundancies set to embarrass the Prime Minister

Thousands of soldiers could lose their jobs in a new wave of redundancies set to embarrass the Prime Minister, it has been reported.

An announcement is expected to be made next January with the final number of those losing their jobs confirmed in May, according to The Times, which reports the figure could be nearly 3,000.

Under plans set out in 2010 the size of the Army will be cut by 20,000 to 82,000 by 2020.

An Army source told the newspaper that David Cameron is keen to avoid the bad publicity that would accompany the announcement of more job losses, however.

Armed forces documents seen by The Times reveal that the Army is concerned that the Government could intervene to prevent further job losses, with Downing Street preferring to see troop numbers falling through people retiring or leaving of their own accord - while military chiefs want to be able to choose themselves how many redundancies to make.

The armed forces redundancy steering group has said the latest round of cuts will see between 2,500 and 2,900 soldiers losing their jobs, with a further 150 RAF staff and 17 medical and dental personnel from the Navy being made redundant, according to the newspaper.

Reports of the latest cuts comes after it was announced in June that the size of the Territorial Army will increase from 19,000 to 30,000 by 2018.

But Colonel Ian Brazier, a former Army officer, told The Times: "The ruthless cutting continues but the reserves supposed to be plugging the gap have not yet been recruited."

An MoD spokeswoman confirmed cuts were being considered, but said no decision had yet been made.

She said: "These redundancies are not new and were announced in the strategic defence security review in October 2010 and again in July 2012.

"Following last year's redundancies which were 84% voluntary, we were clear that a fourth tranche, affecting Army personnel and a small number of medical and dental personnel from the Navy and RAF, could be needed. Outflow and recruitment rates will be taken into account before any decisions are taken on any final redundancies."

A defence source said: "It is only natural that ministers would take a close interest in armed forces redundancies and the necessary recruitment process as we restructure the armed forces. However the entire armed forces redundancy programme is led by the three single services.

"They are responsible for their own redundancies and ultimately decide on how many people are made redundant."

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