Forces to shed 1,500 more jobs

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About 1,500 military personnel are to lose their jobs in the final round of redundancies under the Government’s programme to re-structure the armed forces.

As many as 1,425 members of the Army are to go along with up to 70 medical and dental officers from the RAF and as many as 10 from the Royal Navy, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told MPs yesterday.

Among the hardest hit will be the Brigade of Gurkhas who are set to lose about 350 troops.

The fourth round of redundancies is part of a re-structuring programme that sees the regular Army cut from 102,000 in 2010 to 82,000 by 2020, while the newly-renamed Army Reserve – formerly the Territorial Army – is being expanded from 19,000 to 30,000.

The plans also cut the Royal Navy from 35,500 to 30,000 and the RAF from 40,130 to 35,000.

Mr Hammond said: “With the bulk of our troops back from Afghanistan by the end of this year and coming back from Germany over the next four years, they will be able to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from belonging to armed forces that have put a period of change and restructuring behind them and are focused on building their skills and capabilities for the future.”

The latest cuts come just two weeks after the Army launched a £3m recruitment drive.

Shadow Defence Secretary Vernon Coaker acknowledged a need to reconfigure the forces after the withdrawal from Afghanistan but said it must not jeopardise national security.

“The Government is letting down our armed forces and their families, and taking risks with our nation’s safety,” he said.