Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

No Army cuts expected - MoD chief

General Sir David Richards moved to reassure soldiers fearing for their jobs

The Chief of the Defence Staff has declared he is "pretty confident" the Army could cut its numbers by a fifth without any new redundancies.

General Sir David Richards moved to reassure soldiers fearing for their jobs amid reports that 16,500 personnel faced the axe, with 2,500 injured troops, including 350 who had lost limbs, vulnerable to redundancy.

"The Army has got to get down to about 82,000 by 2020 and that will be quite challenging but there's no new round of redundancies expected," Gen Richards said today.

"We are pretty confident we can get down to the 82,000 figure without any round of redundancies."

He dismissed reports that amputee soldiers were being targeted, saying there was "no such policy".

The Ministry of Defence said a memo leaked to the Daily Telegraph was the work of a relatively junior officer considering all options, and insisted there was no prospect of protection for the wounded being relaxed.

Blaming the memo on too much "enthusiasm" from the captain responsible, Gen Richards said today: "The figures that were leaked in that memo are speculative."

He admitted there was a limit to the number of roles suitable for disabled soldiers who chose to stay in the Army, but quashed suggestions wounded soldiers would be forced out.

He clamed "no-one recognises that at all", though he said officials were "working through various mechanisms" to cut numbers.

Speaking to BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, Gen Richards said: "No-one will be forced out of the Army. They won't leave until it is right for them."

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