MoD announces 1,500 armed forces redundancies

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Defence Secretary Philip Hammond says that job losses in the armed forces, while "painful", will not affect the Army's ability to do its duty.

He came to the House to update MPs on the latest round of redundancies which are part of the Ministry of Defence's long-standing plan to cut the regular Army and expand the Army Reserve to 30,000 troops.

Up to 1,425 members of the Army, 70 medical and dental officers from the RAF and up to 10 from the Royal Navy will lose their jobs, Mr Hammond said.

Questioned by Conservative MP and retired Colonel Bob Stewart about whether the Army would still be "up to any challenge", Mr Hammond answered: "The public can rest assured our Armed Forces will do their duty, will protect this country, wherever, whenever and however called upon to do so."

Shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker accused his opposite number of "taking risks with our country's safety and security. Your story is one of failure on procurement, on recruitment, on redundancies".

The secretary of state rejoined: "You accept the need for downsizing and restructuring of the Army but you say we have not made the case for using the redundancy process to do it. You are talking nonsense - we have set out a structure for our armed forces, Future Force 2020."

Conservative chair of the Defence Committee, James Arbuthnot, asked: "What commitment can you give this is the very last of these unwelcome statements for many years to come?"

Mr Hammond confirmed that this was the last of four tranches of redundancies set out in the strategic defence and security review, but added he could not predict what would happen after 2015.

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