Navy is set for cuts as Army told to slash jobs
FURTHER redundancies threaten the Navy despite earlier indications by the Government no more would be needed.
It came as the Ministry of Defence announced up to 5,300 soldiers are to be sacked from the Army as part of the latest round of military cutbacks.
Redundancy notices will be issued on June 18.
Any personnel preparing for, serving on, or recovering from operations on that date will not lose their jobs unless they have applied for redundancy.
But, in making the announcement the MoD said a further wave of job losses among Royal Navy and RAF medical and dental personnel, as well as additional Army redundancies, is also "likely".
This is at odds with its statement at the time of the second round of redundancies last year, which it signalled would be the final reductions for the Navy and RAF. However, in a written statement announcing the latest, third round of job losses from the Army, Defence Minister Mark Francois said: "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."
Mr Francois told the Commons that the fourth round of redundancies would come in 2014.
Asked about medics and dentists, the Minister said: "There may be some small reductions in Naval and RAF medics and dentists in tranche four.
"The details of that are still being worked through. If we are downsizing the size of the regular forces then it makes sense to downsize concomitantly, but not more than that, the size of the medical division."
The redundancies form part of the cuts announced in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, which will see the regular Army, facing the biggest overall cuts in manpower, reduced to 82,000 by 2020. Both the Navy and Air Force are being cut by around 5,000 personnel.
The latest, third round of job losses will be the biggest so far. The first tranche in September 2011 saw 2,860 forces personnel made redundant, the second in June 2012 involved 3,760.
In both previous rounds a large majority had applied for selection.
No details are available about the location of personnel that may be affected by the current or future redundancy rounds.
Plymouth is home to the Citadel-based 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, and more than 240 military staff work at Derriford as part of a Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit.
Labour has demanded a rethink of the defence cuts in the light of recent events in Algeria, Mali and Libya.
But Mr Francois defended the plans, insisting they were necessary to meet a defence spending deficit.
Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Oliver Colvile pressed the Minister over the impact of the latest redundancies.
He said: "Will he confirm that this announcement will not have an impact on the Royal Navy or the Royal Marines, which have already seen a reduction in their numbers?
"Will he also keep me in touch with the impact that the redundancies will have on the Army units attached to 3 Commando Brigade, and especially to 29 Commando, based at the Royal Citadel in Plymouth?"
Promising to keep him updated, Mr Francois said: "The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force were affected in tranches 1 and 2. Tranche 3 relates solely to the Army."