Minister confirms further 5,300 Army job cuts
Up to 5,300 soldiers will lose their jobs in the latest round of Army cuts but those in Afghanistan, or returning from duty there, will be exempt, Defence Minister Mark Francois has confirmed.
The reduction - the third in the last eighteen months - is part of the Ministry of Defence's programme to reduce force levels by 20,000 by 2017.
Mr Francois said some of the redundancies could be compulsory, as he answered an urgent question on the subject on 22 January 2013.
Labour said recent events in North Africa undermined the government's defence review in 2010 which prompted cuts in the armed forces - and said the plans should be reopened.
Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "Yesterday, the prime minister rightly spoke of the urgency of the Islamist terror threat to the UK from North Africa. But in a Carry On Regardless strategy, the very next day the Ministry of Defence announces 5,000 Army redundancies.
"Unless ministers have answers, there will be a growing sense in the country ministers are unprepared for the emerging threats in North Africa and beyond."
Mr Francois insisted that the cuts were necessary to help plug a £38bn hole in the defence budget which he said had been left by the previous Labour government.
A fourth tranche of redundancies is expected later this year.