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17,000 servicemen to go

4 April 2011

4:50 PM

4 April 2011

4:50 PM

The MoD has released its plan for redundancies. The numbers and plan were leaked at the
weekend, but here are some details:

1) There will be 17,000 redundancies – 7,000 from the army and 5,000 each from navy and RAF. The first tranche will be notified by commanding officers in September 2011.

2) Some of the reductions are expected to be achieved through not filling vacancies and slowing recruitment, but it is estimated that 11,000 jobs will be lost by April 2015.

3) This is a compulsory programme, but the MoD hopes that the majority of losses can be met through volunteers. Volunteers will serve a 6-month notice period, non-volunteers will
serve a 12-month notice period. All non-volunteers will be given the option to transfer to a service arm that has shortages, although reductions in strength are likely to limit opportunities.

4) The army plans to make 1,000 redundancies from September. No soldier with less than 8 years service will be made redundant. 25 percent of the losses will be accounted by
officers, particularly middle ranking officers (Major, Lieutenant-Colonel and Colonel).

5) The Navy plans to make 1,600 redundancies from September. The axe will fall on all ranks from ratings to captains across its service branches. Senior officers are being spared
for the moment.

A cross-party storm has been building for a couple of days over these losses and General Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, has written a eulogy to the forces (while defending the tough
proposals) in today’s Times (£). These cuts are necessary under the current spending arrangement. However, as I noted several weeks ago, the government has been battling the allegation that it has
neglected the military covenant. Unfair as it might sound, 17,000 unavoidable redundancies won’t help the cause.

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