Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Defence Job Cuts Come under Fire

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Defence Job Cuts Come under Fire

Article excerpt

THE latest wave of military redundancies has been announced with up to 4,300 servicemen and women likely to lose their jobs. EMMA GREENHALGH asks is it the right decision? NEW figures have revealed up to 400 members of the Naval Service, 2,900 in the Army and 1,000 members of the Royal Air Force nationally could be facing the dole queue.

The proposed cuts form the second - and most harsh - tranche of the redundancy programme set out in the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

Plans are that by 2015 the Army will downsize by 7,000 personnel and both the Navy and RAF by 5,000 personnel.

The first cull came in September, when 62% of the 2,860 service personnel notified of redundancy had applied voluntarily.

This time around - with that avenue largely exhausted - it's expected a high proportion will be compulsory.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said difficult decisions had to be taken to deal with the "vast black hole" of pounds 38bn in the defence budget.

The news has not been welcomed by Barbara Wood, 55, of Cannon Park, Middlesbrough.

Her son, Warrant Officer Charlie Wood, 34, died in a blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan, in December 2010.

She said the redundancies "make a mockery" of everything he did for the Army.

"They are making all these redundancies and at the end of the day who are they going to get to fight in Afghanistan? "It makes me angry to think that there's all these lads serving for nothing and it breaks my heart," she said.

Barbara fears the injured will be "the first to go", however the MOD said no personnel who are medically downgraded will leave through redundancy.

Also, no-one currently on - preparing for or recovering from - operations will be made redundant unless they volunteer. Major Rob Cripps, company commander of B Company, 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, based in Middlesbrough, has been in the Territorial Army for over 30-years. …

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