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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.
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Friday, 16 October 2009
According to MoD document ref:“ABN 57/09 In Year Savings Measures” Savage cuts in manpower are part of a £97 million package of spending reductions forced on the Army this year. This follows the UK Governments spending of over a TRILLION POUNDS STERLING to prop up the all but bust banking sector, the virtually unlimited printing of banknotes by thye Bank of England (other banks may be available!) and to pay for MP's expenses, Duck Houses, Moats, Food, Cleaners and so on.
Training for Territorial Army soldiers and the renovation of soldiers’ housing - already in a poor condition have also been cut to save the faces of several politicans. The reductions in training and recruiting are now raising concerns about the impact on the Army’s future capabilities. The squeeze on the Army’s already strapped budget has emerged in the same week that beleagured Prime Minister Gordon Brown, currently bumping along the bottom of the opinion polls, announced he will send another 500 British troops to Afghanistan. He did however put several conditions on the deployment, non of them medical or relating to his own health.
Ministers have publicly and repeatedly insisted that the Armed Forces are properly funded, but the Army document drawn up this week for the MoD shows that Army recruitment has been cut by 500 from January to relieve “pressure” on the manpower budget. The very same number earmarked for active service in Afghanistan.
The MoD paper, dated October 13 2010, obtained by the Miltary World website is entitled “ABN 57/09 In Year Savings Measures”. It outlines cuts drawn up by General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the General Staff and rubber stamped by the not very impressive Bob Ainsworth, the current defence secretary.
Sir David has already made cuts of £43 million to help the MoD balance its budget, but at a stormy meeting of the Defence Board last month, he was told to come up with another £54 million of reductions, an amount lesdsd than the Mod's annual spewnd on spin doctors.
The Daily Telegraph revealed last month that the MoD spent more than pounds 61 million on public relations last year.
To avoid direct cuts from the Afghan operation, Sir David has been forced to reduce the Army’s training and recruitment activities.
The paper states: “The planned recruit intake into the Army Recruiting and Training Division is to be reduced by 500 to help reduce the specific pressure on the Army manpower budget.”
In 2008, the Army took in 14,280 new people, while 14,070 personnel left. A 500-place recruitment cut would have meant the Army brought in fewer people than it lost. The recruitment cut will be felt across the Army. The only units to be spared from the cuts are the so-called “pinch point” trades where there are already deep shortages of specialists, and those infantry regiments with the worst recruiting records.
The recruitment cut will deprive the Army of £2 million in the current financial year, the MoD paper claims.
“The planned recruit intake into the Army Recruiting and Training Division is to be reduced by 500 to help reduce the specific pressure on the Army manpower budget," the document concludes.
After intense criticism from opposition parties, campaigners and commanders, ministers made repeated promises to improve the standard of accommodation for soldiers, but shamefully the document reveals that housing has also fallen victim to the cuts. Another £14 million of cuts will be made by delay some planned upgrade work on single soldiers’ living accommodation.
The Army had planned to upgrade 790 housing units this year. Now only 205 of those projects will be completed on time this year.
The MoD paper, widely distributed to commanding officers and senior officials this week, says the cuts are needed for the MoD to “remain within budget in this financial year.”
It says: “Financially, these are difficult times and the MOD, like all Government departments, is required to produce major cost savings.”
“Our priority is to support current operations and these measures are necessary to focus remaining resources on the main effort. These measures will not affect current operations.”
The document also confirms that training for Territorial Army soldiers will be cut by £20 million. That follows a £23 million cut earlier in the year. A budget reduction of £43 million in less than a year.
David Cameron, the Conservative leader, said the “unacceptable” cuts are affecting reservists due to go to Afghanistan next year.
Another £4 million will be cut from funding for school cadet forces. As Chancellor in 2006, Gordon Brown announced the expansion of cadet units, saying he wanted more children to participate in them.
University Officer Training Corps will also lose £3 million.
The cut in Army recruiting and training should raise questions about Government/MoD runaway spending on civilian officials. The MoD currently employs 85,730 civil servants. Britain now has more military bureaucrats for every active serviceman than any of its NATO allies..
Liam Fox, the Conservative shadow defence secretary, accused Labour of being: “disgraceful and penny pinching."
He said: “Too often, this Government has simply not been up to the task on defence. We need forces that are better supplied with equipment.. In Afghanistan and elsewhere, whether we’re dealing with equipment or other things, we’re willing the ends, but not the means.”
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