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MoD enforces over 700 compulsory redundancies

The third round of defence cuts will see 4,480 Army personnel made redundant today. The redundancies are part of a long-term plan to reduce the number of soldiers from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2017 and to double the number of reserves by 2018.

The MoD said that 84% had volunteered for redundancy, and those serving in Afghanistan will not be made redundant in this round of cuts unless they volunteered. There will be 715 compulsory redundancies.

The Army still needs to recruit 10,000 new soldiers this year to keep the structure and age range of the forces in balance.

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.

“These redundancies represent not just broken promises but a failing strategy, and the level of voluntary applicants will be a signal of morale.”

The Army's Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, said: “We aren't just going to carry on doing the things we have in the past. We're going to put a greater dependence on reserves and contractors, as we have been to a large extent in Afghanistan.

“By doing things differently and by making sure that we focus our military manpower on the jobs that absolutely have to be done by people in uniform, we shall be able to sustain a brigade in the field on an enduring basis, and put a division into the field when we need to. We'll still be able to deal with the challenges of the future.”

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