UK & World News

  • 23 January 2014, 6:16

Army Chief Looks To Future After Final Job Cuts

A line has been drawn "under the forced exodus of people from the Army", the Head of the British Army has declared.

Later today the Defence Secretary will announce details of the fourth round of military redundancies. It is also expected to be the final tranche.

Philip Hammond is expected to reveal that roughly 350 redundancies will come from the Ghurkha regiment, 70 or so medical and staff from the RAF and Navy.

The majority though will be chosen from the wider Army, although it is hoped a significant proportion will be voluntary.

As has previously been the case, anyone currently serving on operations will be exempt, as will those serving on the date the exact redundancies are announced - expected to be mid-June.

There will be the option for people to transfer to areas of the military that need bolstering, although those opportunities will be limited.

And financial incentives will be offered to anyone leaving the regular force but willing to join the Reserves.

Speaking ahead of today's announcement, the Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall said this demonstrated the military has done what was asked of it: "This redundancy tranche marks the final leg in our reduction of the Army from its former strength towards 82,500.

"It's the end of a period of significant uncertainty, albeit the relatively small number affected in this final tranche who will get our particular attention in making sure that they are fairly treated and support their transition to civilian life.

"This actually draws a line and we are now concentrating on drawing in the right talent to populate the future Army structure which is all about our operational readiness for future challenges."

It is hoped by senior officials within the Ministry of Defence that this is the last tranche of redundancies and will therefore remove the uncertainty that has been hanging over the military for some years - known anecdotally by troops as "life in the tranches".

It was originally thought as many as 5,000 could be made redundant in this round.

That number is significantly smaller, in part due to problems with recruitment meaning that not so many jobs need to go.

"The defence review of 2010 set very clearly the requirements of defence going into the future," explained Major General David Cullen, Assistant Chief of the General Staff.

"We certainly don't need any further redundancies to achieve that target and to deliver the policy outputs that are required of us."

Earlier this month the military launched another recruitment campaign - the third in the space of just a year.

It is a response to inadequate recruiting figures, and a flawed recruitment process, described by one senior military source as being "clunky".

In the case of the Army Reserve, there are now fewer soldiers than six months ago.

However, the MoD is confident that many of the problems have been ironed out.

The number of staff in the national recruiting centre has been almost doubled and there is a simplified online application process.

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