Navy to shed further 5,000 jobs by end of the decade

THE Royal Navy will be cut by 5,000 more sailors than the original Options for Change target in the latter part of the decade, the Government said yesterday, writes Christopher Bellamy.

In November 1991, plans to reduce the Navy from 63,000 personnel to 55,000 by the mid-1990s were announced. Yesterday, Archie Hamilton, the armed forces minister, told Angela Knight, The Tory MP for Erewash, that the Navy would lose a further 5,000 jobs in the late 1990s.

The announcement coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Royal Air Force and the commitment in principle of British fighters to enforce the no-fly zone over Bosnia, and was therefore not given prominence. Ministry of Defence officials have begun referring to 'post-options' to refer to further cuts in British Armed Forces beyond the Options for Change targets of 1995.

A total of 2,300 of the 5,000 reduction will be met by redundancies: the remaining 2,700 by recruiting cuts and natural wastage.

The MoD said efforts would be made to encourage volunteers and that further work would be needed to determine precise numbers of people made compulsorily redundant. Future staffing needs are difficult to determine as new vessels require smaller crews and widespread efforts are being made to transfer people from support to frontline jobs.

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