UK

Sailors who served in Libya among Royal Navy job cuts

HMS Cumberland
Image caption HMS Cumberland was involved in the rescue of British citizens from Libya in February

Sailors who took part in the Libya campaign will be among hundreds of Royal Navy personnel to learn they are being made redundant later this week.

Dozens of sailors from HMS Cumberland, which rescued Britons from Libya in February, could be affected, along with those on other ships that took part.

Personnel not on or preparing for deployment are eligible for redundancy.

Up to 400 compulsory redundancies are expected in the Ministry of Defence's first round of 1,100 navy job losses.

Plymouth-based HMS Cumberland, which was decommissioned in June, was the first UK warship sent to Libya earlier in the year.

'Uncertain future'

An MoD spokeswoman said: "Only those who have returned from operations and have taken all their operational leave" had been considered for redundancy.

"We need to structure our forces to ensure that they are sufficiently flexible and adaptable to meet the demands of an uncertain future.

"The decisions we are making are not easy but they will help to defend the UK, protect our interests overseas and enable us to work effectively with allies and partners to deliver greater security and stability in the wider world."

The next set of redundancies are due in March, as the Royal Navy cuts its numbers by 5,000 to 30,000 by 2015.

Under the Strategic Defence and Security Review announced last year, the Ministry of Defence is to cut numbers by 22,000 across all three military services.

'Low morale'

Many of those cuts are expected through a decrease in recruitment and by not replacing those who leave, but more than half are likely to be redundancies.

Earlier this month it was announced that 930 RAF and 920 Army personnel had been told they were being made redundant - including 750 compulsory redundancies.

The Army and RAF will eventually cut 7,000 and 5,000 posts respectively.

The MoD will also lose 25,000 civilian staff as part of defence review cuts aimed at saving £5bn.

BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said a recent survey had showed that more than half of all officers and over 40% of other ranks believed the armed forces were suffering from low morale following a year of pay freezes, cuts and redundancies.

In the Royal Navy, almost 60% of officers complained of poor morale.

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