Thousands more civil servants are set to lose their jobs at the Ministry of Defence in a second wave of cuts that will reduce its workforce by 40 per cent.
The MoD has confirmed reports that a further 7,000 jobs are set to go, in addition to the 25,000 job losses previously announced by Defence Secretary Liam Fox in October.
A leaked letter from the department’s top civil servant Ursula Brennan reportedly told staff today that the cuts were needed to “bear down further on non-front line costs”.
The MoD told Channel 4 News the latest cuts were slated for between 2015 and 2020, and were in line with Dr Fox’s plans to shape the 2020 Future Force.
A spokesperson for the MoD added: “Tough decisions have had to be made to tackle the black hole in the MoD’s finances.
“One of the measures necessary to achieve this is to further reduce civilian staff numbers by an additional 7,000, expected to begin from 2015. Much of this will be achieved through reductions in recruiting and not replacing those who leave. Compulsory redundancy programmes would be used only as a last resort.”
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The move, which will cut the MoD’s civilian workforce from 82,000 to 50,000, mirrors a second shockwave of cuts made to the Army last week.
Dr Fox announced a further 10,000 Army jobs would go between 2015 and 2020; on top of the 7,000 jobs set to go by 2015.
This will reduce the Army to its smallest size since the Boer War, with troop numbers down to 84,000 by 2020.
Last year’s Strategic Defence Spending Review (SDSR) set out a blueprint for the Future Force and earmarked cuts for this parliament, but the Government said at the time it would not make any decisions on cuts beyond 2015.
“We have…deliberately focussed in this review on the decisions that need to taken in the next four years, and left to 2015 those decisions which can better be taken in the light of further experience in Afghanistan and developments in the wider economic situation,” the SDSR said.
Latest Government estimates released yesterday reveal that the cost of operations in Afghanistan has mounted to more than £4bn in the current year.
The MoD currently has almost 1,200 civilian support personnel in Afghanistan (this includes 989 local Afghan employees) at a cost to the department of £26m year to date. The bill for our 9,500 military personnel currently stands at £178.4m.
The SDSR set out deep cuts to the Armed Forces after the Coalition Government discovered a £38bn black hole in the MoD’s budget. The MoD has been tasked with whittling down its budget by 8 per cent by 2015.