Thousands face Army job losses in summer

soldier The Army is planning to reduce its regular fighting force to 82,000 by 2017

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Thousands of military personnel face a five-month wait to find out whether they will lose their jobs as part of a restructure of the armed forces.

The Ministry of Defence has outlined a third round of 5,300 Army redundancies to be set out in June, as it tries to reduce the number of regulars from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2017.

The MoD said the cuts are necessary "to meet the challenges of the future".

But campaigners said they created a "worrying" situation for Army families.

Redundancy notices to those affected by this latest round will be issued on 18 June.

No personnel preparing for, serving on, or recovering from deployments on that date will lose their jobs unless they have applied for redundancy, the MoD said, but they could be affected next year.

This round of redundancies will be the largest set of cuts faced by the Army so far as the MoD bids to plug a £38bn hole in the defence budget.

'Live within means'

Catherine Spencer, of the Army Families Federation, said redundancy for soldiers often meant "a complicated and worrying process" for their families.


This round of Army redundancies, along with the next, will hit around one in 10 soldiers. And while those soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan will be protected from the axe this time, they could be included in the next round of cuts.

But it's not just the impact on morale for those serving that's causing concern. It's the timing of the latest redundancies - just days after David Cameron's warning of a long struggle against Islamic extremism. How will cuts in the armed forces affect Britain's ability to deal with a threat within countries hardly noticed in the government's 2010 Strategic Defence Review?

The prime minister has made clear that he will not be sending British combat troops to fight in Mali. He hopes that logistical support for the French from the RAF, intelligence and training will suffice. In his view it's not about the Army's size, but its capabilities.

But what happens when those niche capabilities are not enough? It's at that point that politicians tend to think about force, and the size of the Army would suddenly matter.

"The family are more likely to accompany a soldier, they are quite likely to be living in service family accommodation, so they're going to be asking themselves where they're going to be living, what their soldier is going to do for a job, where their children are going to go to school and, quite often, whether their spouse will lose their job because they'll have to relocate to another area."

Defence minister Mark Francois insisted the MoD would ensure it retained the capabilities the Armed Forces required.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said he could not guarantee all of the redundancies would be made from those who had applied.

But he said some 60% of redundancies in the first tranche had come from applicants and more than 70% in the second.

Mr Francois added the Army "must live within its means".

Labour questioned defence cuts in the wake of the recent hostage crisis in Algeria and concerns that the UK faces a growing battle with Islamist extremism in North Africa.

The government insists the only support likely to be offered in that region will be logistical, rather than troops.

About 17,000 armed forces jobs are scheduled to go under the terms of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), announced in 2010.

Graphic showing the restructure of the Army under Army 2020

The navy and air force have to cut 5,000 jobs each, the Army 7,000 and about 25,000 civilian staff working at the MoD face redundancy.

In 2011, a further reduction of 12,000 was identified for the regular Army, as the government seeks to put greater emphasis on military reserves.

Former soldier Tom Bannister says soldiers' wages are small compared with "procurement wastage"

Last year, the government announced reservist numbers were to be doubled to 30,000 by 2018, to help fill the gap.

The MoD said: "It is important the armed forces continue to recruit to ensure we have enough quality junior ranks and young officers to promote up through the organisation in future.

"The armed forces redundancy programme has been designed to safeguard those skill sets needed in the future armed forces, while ensuring that rank structure remains balanced and support to combat operations is not compromised."

'Dreadful day'

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said it was "a dreadful day" for many members of the Army and their families.

He said: "To announce a new plan for North Africa on Monday and announce 5,000 redundancies in the Army on Tuesday just seems to make no sense whatsoever."

Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy said it was ''dreadful'' for army members

Maj Gen Patrick Cordingley told BBC Radio 5 live the UK's participation in a major land war in the future would be much smaller than in previous conflicts as a result of the changes.

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said the latest round of redundancies were "part of a reconfiguration" set out in the 2010 SDSR and the Army 2020 vision to make the Army "more flexible, adaptable and agile".

He added the UK was "going to continue to have a highly capable, highly operational - even more capable and more operational - Army and armed forces who will, the prime minister has no doubt, continue to do an absolutely excellent job."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    At the same time Cameron seems to be doing a Blair! More hot air than action as Cameron has dumped most of the army, navy and airforce. Many of these now belong to what he calls scroungers and shirkers, never mind that ony a few months ago they risked their lives and were called heroes. .

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    The British Army will number 80,000 in 2017.In 1916 one quarter of that number were killed on the opening day of the Somme alone.Statistics can mean all sorts of things,but one wonders whether this country will soon have a defence in any meaningful sense of the word.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    This is what you get with career politicians. None of them have ever served in the armed forces, or for that matter run a business, worked in a factory or worked in any "front line" job. Media spun PR people, utterly out of touch. That applies to all 3 main parties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    This will work as long as we keep our noses out of other peoples business. How come it is the UK, USA and to some extent France that feel they are the Worlds saviours? The thing is if the UK interferes in another Country (Iraq, Afghanistan etc!) it drags in others such as Canada and Australia. Blair (found God) was the biggest warmonger of them all. KEEP OUR NOSES OUT.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    So there's £38Bn that needs to be found. That's easy. Cut the salary of politicians, reduce the bloated MoD Procurement by half, stop sending billions abroad so that all the militants can stir up trouble and stop paying loads into the pointless EU...... If all that was done perhaps there would be a few quid left over to actually invest in the economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    This cut back sends out the wrong message. Despite Cameron's huffing and puffing we are about as dangerous as a third world power which is what we will be. Rule Brittania? Couldn't even rule a game of cribbage with this tory mob!

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    This is a good thing overall, the Military should be streamlined and cutback. We simply don't need the amount of troops we have, compared to the threats we face today. How people do not see that I do not know.
    I also agree with THE LONE GUNMAN, cut the backline.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    Why is there is £38 billion blackhole in "defence" budgets? Oh yes, New Labour, under Blair and their vision of "defence" which is similar to attack. Industrial conflicts are all well and good if the moola is made. So far, we haven't made the moola. Time to stop pretending we are a World power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    We do not need a "continuous at sea deterence" when mobile air and land based missles could do the trick just as well AND at a fraction of the cost of 4 new nuclear subs.....

    ....ditch those 4 boats and save a fortune plus a great many "boots on the ground" soldiers.....

    ....Govt. & MOD have their priorities all wrong.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    We don't need as many soldiers. We're not the world police and have to accept that trouble on distant shores isn't our problem; we can't afford for it to be.

    Trouble is, the forces aren't just soldiers, sailors and airmen. They, their support staff, and their independent sub-suppliers are hundreds of thousands of jobs we can't afford to lose.

    Rock and a hard place springs to mind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    As an ex-soldier involved in procurement, and subsequently working for the MOD as a civilian, I can assure you that the waste of resources due to incompetence is beyond imagination. Senior officers compete for money in order to appear important and they are backed-up by civil service inadequacy. Only force on the ground succeeds! But these days it has to be well-equipped and superbly trained.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    What the bean counters are not telling people, is the time commitment needed by reservists now.
    Despite what the AD's say, you are looking at every weekend training plus courses.
    Try maintaining a civilian career and family life around that. The commitment level cannot be maintained by reservists continually. That's why trained TA and now leaving, big flaw in the grand plan Dave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    86. TRojandog
    I left the Army after 22 years service, as Sergeant Major (WO2). I was an instructor in numerous military skills, plus various sports and was a football referee.
    Hope I'm not prying but have you tried this,

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    @The Lone Gunman 34. Nail on the head. We'd be able to save a vast sum if we reorganised the MOD, who seem to throw vast sums away due to their inefficiency and job protection. Large quantities of arms lie useless because of poor design and out of date thinking.

  • Comment number 105.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Cuts to our army ... to our boys and girls trying to make a living. To the defence of our country. At the same time we give away £10 BILLION .... yes thats right £10 BILLION in so called International Aid, to countries like Pakistan so they can keep their air force, army and nuclear weapons as well as training terrorists.

    You really couldn't make it up ... these clowns have got to go !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    The only problem we have is we don't trust the establishment.

    Iraq was a joke
    Afghanistan a joke
    Libya a joke
    Syria, we are supporting the Taliban
    Mali, is a lot to do with Uranium for the French.

    We no longer fight battles for defence it appears. Anti-terror in the UK is where we are in danger, not fighting for reserves in the middle-East

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Our constant interference in assorted muslim hell-holes does no good at all. It merely provokes the Islamic nutters here in our own midst. If we would only stop meddling in these horrid places about 50% of the armed forces could be comfortably pensioned off, with 10% of the remainder redeployed to keep a closer eye on our own home-grown Jihadists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Thats the point! The office staff are incompetant and there are too many.

    The governments solution is to reduce the number of SOLDIERS.

    Spot the glaring problem?

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    There is no shortage of cash, they have plenty for imagined quango jobs like the new supermarket ombudsman. I find it hilariously sickening that it is left to charities to pick up the pieces when a soldier in maimed. Surely that is a government responsibility, after all they put them in harms way


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