Up to 5,300 soldiers are being made redundant from the army in the summer as part of the latest round of cuts to the armed forces, the government announces today.
Redundancy notices will be issued on 18 June, although any personnel preparing for, serving on, or recovering from operations on that date will not lose their jobs unless they have applied for redundancy.
The Ministry of Defence said a further tranche of job losses among Royal Navy and RAF medical and dental personnel, as well as additional army redundancies, is also “likely”.
The redundancies form part of the cuts announced in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, which will see the regular army reduced to 82,000 by 2020.
The latest, third round of job losses will be the biggest so far. The first tranche in September 2011 saw 2,860 forces personnel made redundant; the second in June 2012 involved 3,760.
In both previous rounds a large majority had applied for selection.
In a written statement, Defence Minister Mark Francois said: “Today the army are announcing the fields from which they will select personnel to be made redundant in the third tranche of the programme; this will comprise up to 5,300 Army personnel.
“There is likely to be a need for a further tranche for army personnel and medical and dental personnel from the RN (Royal Navy) and RAF in due course.”
Despite reports that those preparing for service in Afghanistan may not be exempt in the latest tranche, Mr Francois confirmed that such personnel would again not be made compulsorily redundant.
“The redundancy programme will not impact adversely on current operations in Afghanistan, and no-one who is serving on specified operations on the day the redundancy notices are issued on 18 June 2013 will be made redundant unless they are applicants,” he said.
“Similarly, those preparing for, or recovering from, such operations on the day the redundancy notices are issued will not be made redundant unless they have applied.”
A further tranche of redundancies is likely to include soldiers exempt from redundancy in this latest round, to ensure the process is “as fair as possible”, the MoD said.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “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 and the consequent scale of downsizing required in the army.
“We will have smaller armed forces but they will in future be properly equipped and well funded, unlike before. These redundancies will not affect current operations in Afghanistan, where our armed forces continue to fight so bravely on this country’s behalf.”
Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall said the redundancies were essential in reducing the army to 82,000.