12 Nov 2011

Wounded soldiers ‘face sack by 2015’

A leaked classified memo suggests 16,500 army personnel, including as many as 2,500 wounded soldiers, could be made redundant by April 2015. The MoD has rejected the information as “incorrect”.

The document, published in the Daily Telegraph and sent to senior commanders in Afghanistan, says those laid off could include as many as 2,500 wounded soldiers, of whom 350 have lost a limb.

But a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The information in this leaked army memo from a junior officer is incorrect. Beyond those already announced, there are no further army reductions planned.

“There is absolutely no plan to change our treatment of service personnel who are wounded, injured or sick.”

Details of the leak emerged on the weekend when the United Kingdom remembers its war dead. Millions held a two-minute silence on Friday, and tomorrow sees the ceremony of remembrance at the Cenotaph in London

Wounded ‘not exempt’

Last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review revealed the army would be reduced by 7,000 soldiers by 2015.

The Telegraph said the memo indicated 12,000 soldiers would be told in January that their jobs were at risk, with 2,300 of those to be made redundant. Some 2,000 have already lost their jobs as spending cuts bite.

Subsequent waves could add as many as 13,000 redundancies by April 2015. “The total number of personnel selected for redundancy in T1-14 will be approximately 15.5-16.5k,” the memo is quoted as saying. “All redundancy tranches are scheduled to be complete by Apr 15.”

It also stated that wounded soldiers who had been “temporarily downgraded” would “not be exempt”, and those too injured or sick to return to service would be “looked at in more detail”.

Housing commitment

Meanwhile ministers are seeking to renew their commitment to improving ex-soldiers’ access to public services such as social housing.

Housing Ministry Grant Shapps said guidance that they should go to the head of the queue was part of the plans.

“As our brave troops answered their call of duty, councils will need to do the same to ensure that heroes who want a home in their area will be at the top of local waiting lists,” he said.