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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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First 2,000 armed forces personnel are axed

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Nearly 2,000 armed forces personnel out of a projected 22,000 will be told that they face redundancy today following the coalition government’s controversial Strategic Defence Review.

The army plans to release 920 soldiers, of which 660 will be voluntary departures and the rest compulsory. More than half of the 260 being forced out are Gurkhas, even though only six applied to go, in a move that risks giving rise to allegations that the 3,500-strong brigade is being disproportionately hit.
 
Defence officials told the Daily Telegraph that the cuts were necessary following changes to the Gurkhas’ terms of service in 2008, which put them on similar contracts to the rest of the army.
 
The changes meant that the Nepalese soldiers could serve for 22 years rather than the previous 15 to which they were limited previously. But the Ministry of Defence indicated that the move made it more expensive to employ them which, in turn, made them more vulnerable to cost-cutting activity.
 
The RAF, meanwhile, will also dismiss 930 trainee pilots, weapons operators and ground crew today, some 490 of whom will leave due to compulsory redundancy.
 
The coalition government has come under fire over the move because the RAF is still actively engaged in aerial campaigns over Libya. But the MoD told the BBC that personnel receiving operational allowances because they were serving in either Libya or Afghanistan, were preparing to do so or had recently returned from operations there, would be exempt from the cuts unless they applied to leave themselves.
 
It also said that no RAF pilots or ground crew involved in Libyan operations would be forced to go during this round of redundancies. The armed forces are looking to shed 22,000 personnel over the next four years, however, nearly half of which will take the form of redundancy.
 
Those who opt for voluntary redundancy will be asked to serve six months’ notice, while those forced out will serve a year.
 
 
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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