Philip Hammond, Defence Secretary, has announced that 5,300 army jobs are to be axed in the latest tranche of redundancies by the Ministry of Defence.It is thought to be the biggest round of redundancies since the early 1990’s with many compulsory job losses.
Special Forces units will be spared from the cuts, as will personnel currently deployed in Afghanistan, soldiers recovering from injuries sustained on operations, soldiers preparing to deploy and personnel who have recently returned.
Initially outlined in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) 2010, the job cutsrepresent the latest step towards the MoD’s ‘Army 2020’. Two tranches of redundancies have already taken place in September 2011 and June 2012 with 6,620 job cuts to date. A fourth tranche of redundancies will take place later this year or in early 2014.
Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, said their ‘aim now is to apply the process as fairly as possible and to prepare to support those individuals who are selected as they and their families’ transition to civilian life’.
As a solicitor representing injured service men and women, I have seen how difficult and sometimes traumatic it can be for members of the armed forces to make that transition and I sincerely hope personnel involved in the redundancies are given sufficient help and support to make that change smoothly. I am however pleased to hear that those recovering from injuries sustained on operations are being spared from the cuts as those men and women have to focus on rehabilitation and recovery without worrying about job and financial security.