Armed forces morale falls, MoD survey suggests

British soldiers in Afghanistan Despite the figures, ministers insist morale on operations is high

Related Stories

Morale in the armed forces has fallen across all three services in the last two years, with the Army worst hit, a Ministry of Defence survey suggests.

In 2010, 25% of the 12,364 personnel surveyed across the armed forces said morale was "high", compared with 15% of the 12,667 surveyed last year.

The percentage of those saying morale was "low" has risen from 33% to 50%.

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy blamed government cuts but the MoD said "tough decisions" had to be taken.

The survey of attitudes in the armed forces, which is conducted annually, found that morale across all army ranks had fallen. It has been published in the wake of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, which saw the Army affected more than the other services.

In the Army, where 3,723 surveyed were surveyed in 2010, 32% said morale was "high" but only 18% of the 3,203 surveyed in 2012 gave the same response.

Those saying it was "low" has risen from 24% to 45%.

The percentage of Army officers who said morale was "high" has dropped from 30% of 1,093 respondents in 2010, to 7% of the 1,120 interviewed in 2012. Those officers saying morale was "low" rose from 25% in 2010, to 63% in 2012.

'Focused on job'

Mr Murphy said the figures were a "terrible reflection" of the government's defence policy and the government needed to "sit up, listen and change course in response to this worrying trend".

"A vital benchmark of success is our forces' morale and yet it has been damaged and dented by David Cameron and [defence secretary] Philip Hammond," he said.

"A botched review and cuts to vital support have made our forces feel under-valued and over-stretched. Cutting the Army by 20,000 while we have so many of our forces serving in Afghanistan is a real blow.

"Tough decisions are necessary but they must be taken with respect not recklessness."

Earlier this year Mr Hammond described morale as "fragile" because of the scale of the redundancy programme and cuts in the overall size of the Army.

Defence Minister Peter Luff said the government had had to make "tough decisions" to get the defence budget back into balance, including reducing the size of the armed forces.

He said any change was bound to create uncertainty but "morale on operations remained high".

"The resilience of our personnel should not be underestimated. We are nearing the end of a very difficult period in defence and hope to see morale slowly recovering over the next couple of years.

"Our armed forces remain focused on doing their job, whether it is in Afghanistan or at home in the UK for the Olympics," he said.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK stories

RSS

Features

  • Two women in  JohanesburgYour pictures

    Readers' photos on the theme of South Africa


  • Worcestershire flagFlying the flag

    Preserving the identities of England's counties


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


  • The OfficeIn pictures

    Fifty landmark shows from 50 years of BBC Two


  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.