The Government is set to reduce the number of regular soldiers by nearly 4,500, 84 per cent of whom have volunteered to be made redundant. Following a defence review in 2010, this 3rd round of cuts further emphasises the Governments plan to reduce the number of regular soldiers to 82,000 by 2017. At the same time, there is a planned 100 per cent increase in the number of reservists from 15,000 to 30,000 in the period 2010 to 2018. The Army says that, even as it makes the latest redundancies, it still needs to recruit 10,000 new soldiers and officers this year, as well as 6,000 reservists. It is said that this is necessary to keep its structure and age range in balance, with both soldiers and officers needing to start at the bottom of the hierarchy.
The move, deemed a ‘huge gamble’ by Labour, comes as Chancellor George Osborne plans to save £11.5bn in spending. BBC Defence Correspondent Caroline Wyatt sees the cuts as a potentially unsettling process to soldiers and their families. Army Families Federation chief executive Catherine Spencer told the BBC it was a "really difficult day" for those who had been handed compulsory redundancies, "a day that they will have been dreading for some time, as they come to terms with considering where they`re going to live, what job they`ll do next, where their children will go to school". However, she praised the Army for "worked really hard" to make its redundancy package "really attractive".
Redundancy pay-outs for service personnel over the period October 2010 to February 2013 have totalled £194m, the MoD say, according to a freedom of information request from the BBC.
Co-authored by Jonathan Brown, work experience student, University of Reading.