UK armed forces to undergo further 1,060 job cuts

British troops The government plans to reduce the size of the armed forces by 2018

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The Ministry of Defence has announced 1,060 armed forces redundancies in its fourth and final round of cuts.

As a result, 995 service personnel will leave the Army, 10 will go from the Royal Navy and 55 from the RAF.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the cuts - part of the government's Strategic Defence and Security Review, called Army 2020 - "were unavoidable".

The National Audit Office has warned that plans to cut the Army and increase reservists have "significant risks".

Mr Hammond said the announcement "marks the end to a period of uncertainty and doubt for our personnel" and will address the "blackhole" in 2010's defence budget.

He said the announcement will allow "greater certainty for armed forces personnel going forward".

'Challenges'

"It is with great regret that we have had to make redundancies to reduce the size of the armed forces, but unfortunately they were unavoidable," he added.

General Sir Nicholas Haughton, chief of the defence staff, said the cuts would present "opportunities and challenges" and vowed to support military personnel who will leave the armed forces.

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Analysis By Caroline Wyatt
Royal Marines in Afghanistan

It has been a difficult, divisive and demoralising time for many in the armed forces since 2011.

Although many people have volunteered to leave - some three-quarters overall - the impact has been felt deeply, mainly in the British Army, where the cuts have been greatest.

The Army is also the service facing the most organisational change. It is gradually pulling out of Afghanistan as well as relocating its bases in Germany back to the UK

At the same time it is trying to integrate reservists and faces the possibility of needing to integrate women into the 'teeth' arms of the service.

None of that is easy - especially at a time of wider defence re-organisation and out-sourcing - as the National Audit Office pointed out yesterday.

Many units will be feeling the strain as experienced, well-trained and battle-hardened NCOs - as well as friends and comrades - leave, while others remain in an organisation that still has much more change to implement.

Meanwhile, another defence review on the way next year.

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'Appropriate testing'

Since 2011, more than 12,000 service personnel have been made redundant.

The restructuring programme was set out in the coalition's strategic review in 2010.

The regular Army will be reduced from 102,000 in 2010 to 82,000 in 2018, while the reserves will go up to 30,000.

It is hoped savings of £10.6bn will be made as a result.

Almost three-quarters of those taking redundancy were volunteers, meaning they will leave the armed forces in December.

Those facing compulsory redundancy will leave next June.

Graphic showing the restructure of the Army under Army 2020

The National Audit Office, which is the spending watchdog, issued a report on Wednesday, stating that the decision to reduce the size of the Army was taken without "appropriate testing of feasibility".

It also suggested the move to raise the numbers of reservists from the current 19,400 to 30,000 by 2018 could be delayed until 2025.

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