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Sunday Telegraph: 'Army facing huge cuts after withdrawal from Afghanistan'

BAFF is quoted in a report by the Sunday Telegraph defence correspondent, about the Army facing "huge cuts" after withdrawal from Afghanistan. The reductions would make the Army the smallest since the reign of George IV, who reigned 1820-1830. Quotes in the article:

One "defence source" said:

"When Britain withdraws from Afghanistan in 2015, the Treasury will be knocking on the door of the MoD with a very big hammer – there will be a substantial reduction in troops numbers leaving an Army with a strength of circa 80,000. We will be moving into an era of sharing capabilities with our European allies. The days of being able to do everything are long gone."

"Another senior officer" commented that the cuts would be hugely damaging:

"Effect on morale? In my judgement it is enormous. If you survive an operational tour you will possibly lose your job post 2015, or your chances of promotion will be reduced in a smaller Army."

A spokesman for the British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF) said:

"The government needs to recognise that if it takes the Military Covenant seriously, it needs to treat members of the Armed Forces with fairness and consideration, taking into account the sacrifices that service personnel and their families make for their country.

"The Conservatives made a lot of noise before the election about how they would treat the Armed Forces if they got into government but so far all this talk has proved hollow.

"The Armed Forces need a clear and unequivocal statement about redundancy policy and we need it soon."

Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP and former infantry commander, added:

"In the early 1820s we made the mistake of reducing the armed forces to a dangerously low level.

"Within a few years we were having to recruit and retrain to deal with the expansion of the empire - do we learn nothing from history?

"How many times has Afghanistan been "dealt with" before? The one thing we can be certain of with the Middle East imploding and threat diversifying, day by day, is that we will need more troops not less."

An MoD spokesman said:

"As announced in the SDSR, there are plans to reduce the Armed Forces by 17,000 personnel; 7,000 from the army, 5,000 from the RAF and 5,000 from the Navy.

"These reductions will be driven by the structural needs of the three services and will be achieved through a combination of natural wastage and statutory Armed Forces Redundancy Schemes.

"Work is still ongoing to determine from which areas of the services these reductions will come but there will be no impact on operational capability."

Tags: British Army

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