Defence cuts could impact RAF Marham and Swanton Morley barracks

Thousands of soldiers will learn today that they are to be made redundant as part of the downsizing of the Armed Forces.

Up to 2,900 Army personnel will be told of their fate, as will up to 900 members of the RAF and up to 300 from the Royal Navy in the latest tranche of military job cuts.

It is not known yet whether these redundancies affect personnel at either RAF Marham or Swanton Morley barracks.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said personnel selected for redundancy will be told face to face by their chain of command and will leave on or before December 11.

He added: 'The MOD will publish a full breakdown of the applications and selections for tranche 2 on the DASA [Defence Analytical Services and Advice] website in due course.

'Regional information will be included in this breakdown but it would be misleading to make any assumptions about regional job losses as individuals have been selected, not the posts they occupy.'

It is the second round of redundancies - including a mixture of voluntary and compulsory - resulting from the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

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That included reducing the size of the Army by 7,000, the RAF by 5,000 and the Navy by 5,000.

The first tranche of redundancies, numbering 2,860, were announced last September and the numbers to be let go were announced by the Ministry of Defence in January.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: 'Of course I regret that it has been necessary to make redundancies to deliver our plans for reducing the size of the Armed Forces.

'We inherited a multi-billion pound black hole in the defence budget which had meant the previous Government had not been able to afford to properly equip our troops with the kit they needed.

'We've now brought the defence budget back into balance for the first time in a generation. We will have smaller Armed Forces but we will ensure they will have the protection and equipment they need.

'The Royal Navy and RAF redundancy figures are smaller than anticipated due to the MoD's ability to use other measures such as slowing recruitment.

'No further significant reductions are expected for the Royal Navy or RAF. We still have some way to go to bring the size of the Army down to 82,000 and decisions on what is necessary to achieve this are yet to be taken, but we won't compromise the mission in Afghanistan.'

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards added: 'I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere thanks to those who will be leaving the Services for their contribution to our Armed Forces and to the nation's security.

'Some of you may see redundancy as an opportunity. Others will see it as a significant challenge. 'Your chain of command will support you during the redundancy process, and I would encourage you to make full use of the comprehensive resettlement package as you make the transition to civilian life.

'I would also encourage those who are eligible to consider applying for transfer to shortage categories within any of the three Services.'

But Labour said the Government must do more to demonstrate how the Armed Forces would meet future demands and criticised the continued uncertainty over changes to regimental structures.

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: 'We are concerned about the human and military impact of these job losses. Capability is being lost, as are people's livelihoods.

'The Government has focused on structures not purpose. Savings have to be made but ministers must do much more to explain our future ability to project force around the world as well as how they intend to support the thousands being sacked.

'The Government are not reforming but dithering. We have no final decisions on the future of basing or regiments and the continued uncertainty is deeply debilitating.'

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