Dozens of reservist bases are to close across the country as the Government frees up funding for a major expansion of numbers.
The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, unveiled plans to recruit an extra 12,000 part-timers, promising new pension, healthcare and leave perks. But in future, the 35,000 fully trained reservists will be concentrated into 25 fewer bases, with 38 earmarked for closure and 13 being opened at new locations. Better-paid civilians also face being frozen out of serving in frontline roles, as the Government has decided it will no longer make up the difference between army wages and their normal salaries.
The package, announced by Mr Hammond in a statement to MPs, will see the Territorial Army renamed the Army Reserve, with numbers rising from 20,000 to 30,000 by 2018. The shake-up is expected to cost around £1.8bn over the next decade, with the reservists undertaking 10 per cent more training and getting better equipment. Smaller firms that employ part-time troops will receive an extra £500 per month when they are away on deployment.