UK

Army morale declining, Ministry of Defence survey shows

soldier
Image caption Nearly 4,500 army personnel were told they had been made redundant in June

Morale in the Army has declined, according to the Ministry of Defence's annual survey of attitudes in the armed forces.

Thirty per cent of army personnel described their morale as low - up from 26% last year - the report showed.

And the proportion of those rating their morale as high dropped for the third year running to 40%.

Labour said the government's "broken promises" on armed forces spending were to blame for the weakened morale.

Of the three armed services, the Army has been the hardest hit by recent redundancies.

The government has announced plans to cut the number of regular soldiers from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2017. It also aims to increase the number of reservists from the 2010 figure of 15,000, to 30,000 in 2018.

'Under-valued'

But the survey showed that just 32% of army personnel believe that reservists are well integrated with regular forces. The equivalent figure was higher for the Royal Navy, at 56%, while for the Royal Air Force it was 64%.

BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said it appeared that regular troops were yet to be convinced that filling their ranks with part-time soldiers would really work.

Despite the drop in army morale, figures for the three forces combined showed 49% of personnel were satisfied with service life in general, while 28% said they were dissatisfied - largely unchanged from the previous year.

There was an increase in the proportion of personnel describing their workload as "too high" - from 40% to 44%. Just 7% said it was "too low".

Shadow armed forces minister Kevan Jones said: "A record of redundancies, cuts to equipment and slashed allowances means our forces feel under-valued and under-powered.

"Due to a failed economic strategy, ministers have repeatedly returned to the services to make cuts, which may harm our ability to project force in the world."

Of the 4,480 army personnel who were made redundant in June, 3,765, or 84%, volunteered for redundancy, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said at the time.

Job cuts have already reduced staffing at the air force from 40,000 to 35,000, and at the navy from 35,000 to 30,000.

The Annual Armed Forces Attitudes Survey involved a random sample of 28,000 regular personnel in the armed forces.

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