Over 5,000 job cuts announced by Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) yesterday announced the decision to cut up to 5,300 jobs in 2013 as part of wider plans to restructure and reduce the Army by 2017.
Hailed “the single biggest round of armed forces job losses under the coalition” by The Evening Standard, the radical job cuts are the third of their kind introduced by the government in an attempt to reduce Britain’s military forces from 102,000 to just 82, 000 by 2017.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond issued a statement saying: “The Army is actively managing recruitment to reach the target numbers, but unfortunately redundancies are unavoidable due to the size of the defence deficit that this Government inherited”.
The announcement of the decision to reduce overall military forces in 2012 raised concerns over whether or not Britain would be able to maintain its status as a great power.
Many have raised concerns that reducing Army numbers would reduce Britain’s ability to effectively deal with international threats such as the most recent hostage crisis that took place in Algeria.
The Telegraph yesterday reported that the Shadow Secretary of Defense, Jim Murphy, has criticized the government’s decision. In a video interview, the MP stated that the decision to reduce armed forces makes “no sense” in light of recent international events in North Africa.
Despite these concerns, however, Phillip Hammond spoke yesterday of the improvements that will be made to Britain’s forces as a result of the reduction.
According to the Defence Secretary, “We will have smaller armed forces but they will in the future be properly equipped and well-funded, unlike before”. The suggestion here, then, is that the smaller the forces, the more money can be spent on equipping them.
Whilst this may dampen concerns regarding Britain’s ability to defend itself, more pressing concerns amongst military families centre on what the future holds. Large numbers of families living on military bases face the prospect of losing not only an income, but also their home.
Whilst the MoD are looking to ensure that it is mainly those voluntarily applying for redundancies that make the cut, the vast number of planned cuts means that those not seeking redundancy may also be at risk.
For the time being the MoD have stated that: “Our aim now is to apply the process as fairly as possible and to prepare to support those individuals who are selected as they and their families transition to civilian life.”