Leading Army officers warn that Government spending cuts to the Armed Forces may be 'dangerous'

Chief of General Staff General Sir Peter Wall and shadow Defence Minister Kevan Jones among those urging caution over savings to be laid out in the 2015/16 spending review

The Army's Chief of General Staff has warned that shortfalls in military resources caused by spending cuts "could become quite dangerous, quite quickly".

Speaking as the Ministry of Defence face a new round of savings as part of Government-wide reductions of £11.5bn to be outlined in the 2015/16 spending review, General Sir Peter Wall has warned that cuts would be "very disruptive".

The defence budget has some protection in Chancellor George Osborne's spending review, to be outlined on June 26. It will include a 1% increased in equipment budgets from 2015, but Defence Secretary Philip Hammond must still make a 5% overall reduction.

General Wall expressed concern at the prospect of these savings being made while the armed forces were still absorbing previous deep spending cuts.

In an interview on the Britain's Last War documentary aired on Sky News last night, presenter Jeff Randall asked him: "The forthcoming spending review seems sure to bring further cuts to the defence budget, and the arms budget, leaving a considerable gap between planned capabilities and available resources. How dangerous is that gap?"

He replied: "I think it could become quite dangerous, quite quickly."

He went on to say: "We have got to the point in a number of parts in our set up where we can't go any further without seriously damaging our professional competence and our chances of success in the battlefields of the future.

"It would be a brave claim to say an organisation can never make more efficiencies but we do need the time to let our new structures bed in, for those efficiencies to get delivered.

"Imposing more on us now, before the last round of efficiencies have really materialised properly in a balanced way, would be very disruptive."

Senior MoD sources say a deal with the Treasury that would not involve any further reduction in military numbers or capability was close. However, leading figures in the forces have echoed General Wall's concerns.

Speaking in the same documentary, Lieutenant General Nick Carter, the UK's most senior officer in Afghanistan, said that politicians should "look themselves in the mirror each morning" and ask if they felt the risks were manageable.

"At the end of the day our politicians need to determine what they want the Army to do. And if they determine that the Army's going to do less, then it's reasonable for them to reduce it still further," he said.

Labour have warned that the government are taking a "huge gamble".

Shadow defence minister Kevan Jones said: "The government have cut the Army without a replacement plan in place. The country will worry about strategic shrinkage by stealth."

An MoD spokeswoman said: "Like all Whitehall departments we are currently negotiating our financial settlement for the 2015-16 Spending Review.

"Although no final decisions have been taken we have been clear that we would first and foremost seek to find genuine efficiencies that would enable us protect front-line capabilities and protect military manpower numbers.

"Whilst this process is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Voices
Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré deliver an anti-fracking letter to No 10 last week
voicesThe great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick