Britain axes 11,000 armed forces jobs: Government

Britain said it would axe around 11,000 armed forces jobs as part of defence cuts brought in to help reduce the country`s record budget deficit.

Updated: Mar 02, 2011, 12:22 PM IST

London: Britain said it would axe around
11,000 armed forces jobs as part of defence cuts brought in to
help reduce the country`s record budget deficit.

The announcement added detail to the broad figures
outlined by finance minister George Osborne in last October`s
spending review.
The size of Britain`s armed forces will be reduced by
17,000 personnel by 2015 and will be partly achieved by
slowing down recruitment.

"There will be scope for individuals to volunteer to
be considered for redundancy and where possible we will meet
our manpower target through volunteers," Defence Secretary
Liam Fox said in a statement.

"But some difficult choices are sadly inevitable," he
added.

The cuts are likely to affect front-line troops in
Afghanistan, where Britain has around 9,500 personnel, making
it the second-largest contributor after the United States to
the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

According to the Telegraph newspaper, ministers
informed the army that no troops who were serving in
Afghanistan when the redundancies began in September would be
sacked.
However, that means that almost all personnel now in
the war-torn country are eligible for redundancy as they are
due home before the September cut-off point.

Brigadier Richard Nugee, of the army`s personnel
section, told the paper that "messages will be sent to
commanding officers."

"They will brief the individuals who are in those
fields, whether they are in Afghanistan or whether they are
elsewhere in the world," he added.

Military leaders expressed fears that the cuts could
affect the performance of front-line staff.

Osborne announced in October that the government would
cut defence spending by eight percent in real terms over the
next four years as it looks to rein in a deficit which is
running at around 10 percent of GDP.

PTI