LONDON — Nearly 4,500 army personnel are being told they have been made redundant in the third and biggest round of job cuts since the 2010 defence review.
They are part of a long-term plan to cut the number of regular soldiers from 102,000 to 82,000. The government plans to increase the number of reservists.
Ministers said the cuts were “unavoidable” and the army would be “more flexible and agile” in future.
But Labour said the plan was “flawed” and warned that army morale was low.
Of the 4,480 personnel being made redundant, 3,765, or 84 per cent, have volunteered for redundancy, the Ministry of Defence said — up from 72 per cent in the previous round of cuts.
There will 715 compulsory redundancies, making up 16 per cent of the total.
Those serving in Afghanistan, and those preparing for or recovering from deployment, will not be made redundant in this round of cuts unless they have volunteered.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “It is with great regret that we have had to make redundancies to deliver the reduction in the size of the armed forces, but unfortunately they were unavoidable due to the size of the defence deficit that this government inherited.
“Although smaller, our Armed Forces will be more flexible and agile to reflect the challenges of the future with the protection and equipment they need.”
But shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: “The government has a flawed plan for reforming the British Army. There is a huge effort going into sacking soldiers but nowhere near as much is being done to plug the gap by recruiting new reservists.”
The Labour MP added: “These redundancies represent not just broken promises but a failing strategy, and the level of voluntary applicants will be a signal of morale.” (BBC)