Armed forces set out plans for first redundancies

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Media captionAir Vice-Marshal Mark Green outlines who will be exempt from RAF redundancies

The Ministry of Defence says the first wave of redundancies in the armed forces will be made in September.

The MoD must make 11,000 job cuts and the RAF is the first service to set out where its share of 2,700 will begin.

Those on operations in Afghanistan in September will be exempt, but troops due back in April could lose their jobs, it has been announced.

The government says the cuts are necessary, but Labour says the handling of the news has been amateurish.

The armed forces are looking to shed 17,000 posts over the next four years as defence spending is cut.

A review has found that, after natural wastage, a total of 11,000 redundancies will have to be made in three or four tranches.

The RAF is the first service to set out details of its plans, with the first 1,020 jobs due to go in September.


Up to 170 trainee pilots will be made redundant, although the RAF says no qualified pilots will be affected.

Another 100 posts will go from the Weapons System Officers Branch, 100 from the Weapons System Operator Trade, along with 529 ground staff.

Two Tornado squadrons will be disbanded - 14 Squadron based at Lossiemouth in Moray, and XIII Squadron from Marham in Norfolk.

Their personnel will not automatically be made redundant. In the short term they will be found other jobs, probably in different locations.

Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the government's plans for cuts to the armed forces.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, Mr Cameron said "incredibly difficult" decisions had to be made, but that the government had inherited a defence budget that had been overspent by £38bn.

"We did not take any of these decisions lightly," he said, "and they will have a difficult impact on the people involved in the RAF, the Navy and the Army and their families, and we will do everything we can to help them. But it is right to make the decision."

Returning personnel

He added that, at the end of the process, the UK would still have the fourth largest defence budget in the world.

In September, servicemen and women who are on operations - or in training to be deployed, or recovering from a mission - will not face compulsory redundancy.

Image caption RAF Tornado squadrons from Marham and Lossiemouth will be disbanded

However, those currently serving in Afghanistan and due to return home in April will be considered.

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said personnel currently serving in Afghanistan should not return to the threat of redundancy.

"I've asked the government for assurances that no-one currently serving in Afghanistan would be made compulsorily redundant when they returned, the government gave assurances that that would not happen, I believed their assurances," he said.

"Today again they have to give 100% commitment that anyone - any man or woman - serving in our armed forces in Afghanistan today will not be sacked upon their return."

Mr Murphy added: "It's remarkable that in the week when the prime minister and the government are talking about a no-fly zone over Libya, amid all the turmoil that's happening there, they now turn their attention to our own RAF and sack so many trainee pilots."

The Army is looking to cut 5,000 jobs and the Royal Navy 3,300. They will set out their fields for redundancy on 4 April.

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