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Defence cuts too deep, Labour warns

Sacking hundreds of Army and RAF personnel will have "long-term consequences" for the UK, Labour has warned.

About 920 soldiers and 930 RAF personnel have been told they are being made redundant, 750 of them against their will, in the first wave of military job losses.

The head of the armed forces, General Sir David Richards, acknowledged that it is an "unsettling time" for all personnel and a "significant challenge" for those made redundant.

Personnel were made aware of decisions on their future as Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the armed forces as the people "who make our country great".

The Army is making around 260 compulsory redundancies, 140 of them Gurkhas, as part of the coalition's efforts to tackle the deficit and bring the defence budget under control.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) expects some Gurkhas facing the axe to transfer to other infantry regiments which are currently below full strength.

A total of 869 soldiers applied for redundancy but only 660 of them are being allowed to leave. The RAF is making about 490 compulsory redundancies.

The plans to cut the posts were announced earlier this year as part of a programme which could see 11,000 redundancies across the RAF, Army and Royal Navy by April 2015.

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy told the BBC that while savings are necessary "they are probably going too quickly, too deeply in cutting the deficit".

He added: "A bigger worry is that while we all know that the deficit is temporary, the cuts at this stage are permanent. Once you sack an RAF trainee pilot they aren't coming back, they're gone for good. So, this has got very long-term consequences for our country."


From Belfast Telegraph