Soldiers face axe as part of defence cuts


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Thousands of soldiers will learn tomorrow that they are to be made redundant as part of the downsizing of the Armed Forces.

Up to 2,900 Army personnel will be told of their fate, as will up to 900 members of the RAF and up to 300 from the Royal Navy in the latest tranche of military job cuts.

It will be the second round of redundancies - including a mixture of voluntary and compulsory - resulting from the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

That included reducing the size of the Army by 7,000, the RAF by 5,000 and the Navy by 5,000.

The first tranche of redundancies, numbering 2,860, were announced last September.

The numbers to be let go tomorrow were announced by the Ministry of Defence in January. Defence Minister Andrew Robathan said it would be the last major tranche of redundancies for the Navy and the RAF.

He said the MOD would "retain the capabilities that our Armed Forces require in order to meet the challenges of the future".

But Labour said the Government must do more to demonstrate how the Armed Forces would meet future demands and criticised the continued uncertainty over changes to regimental structures.

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "We are concerned about the human and military impact of these job losses. Capability is being lost, as are people's livelihoods.

"The Government has focused on structures not purpose. Savings have to be made but ministers must do much more to explain our future ability to project force around the world as well as how they intend to support the thousands being sacked.

"The Government are not reforming but dithering. We have no final decisions on the future of basing or regiments and the continued uncertainty is deeply debilitating."