• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Scottish fears over new Army cuts

A further round of Army redundancies is "extremely worrying" for military and civilian personnel based in Scotland, the veterans minister has said.

Keith Brown spoke out after the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that up to 5,300 soldiers are to be made redundant in the summer as part of the latest round of cuts to the armed forces.

Notices are to be issued on June 18 and further job losses among Royal Navy and RAF medical and dental personnel is also likely, the MoD said.

Mr Brown, SNP MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, said: "Today's announcement from the MoD about further army redundancies is extremely worrying - not only for our military and civilian personnel based here in Scotland, but also for their families, friends and the wider communities in which they live.

"While recent rounds of redundancies have been voluntary for the most part, it is expected that today's announcement will force willing serving personnel into unemployment and hardship - something that is far from needed in these difficult financial times."

The MoD has imposed "drastic and disproportionate" cuts in Scotland in recent years, with about 8,800 military and civilian MoD jobs lost since 2000, he said.

"Not only will today's announcement have a major impact on our economy, it will also have a devastating impact on our servicemen, servicewomen and their families," Mr Brown continued.

"We should bear in mind that many of those affected will have seen active service in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

"I am deeply concerned that Scotland's needs are not being addressed by Westminster and will take every opportunity to ensure that action is taken to continue our support for this extremely hard-working and dedicated group of people."

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 first round in September 2011 saw 2,860 forces personnel made redundant while the second in June 2012 involved 3,760.

In a written statement, UK 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."

He added: "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 June 18 2013 will be made redundant unless they are applicants.

"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."

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy, Labour MP for East Renfrewshire, said the defence review has been exposed by events in North Africa.

"Today's statement raised more questions than answers but one certainty is that the heroes of today could be sacked tomorrow," he said.

"The Prime Minister rightly spoke of the urgency of the Islamist terror threat to the UK from North Africa but, in a 'carry on regardless' strategy, serious skills in the Army are being lost.

"Not enough is being done to rebalance our forces towards new threats and a changed role.

"The Government's flawed defence review has been exposed by world events - it didn't mention Mali, Algeria or Libya."

Contextual targeting label: 
Careers and Jobs

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

136657