RAF personnel at Marham and elsewhere await news on redundancy

Hundreds of RAF personnel could be made redundant this week, with ground crew supporting operations in Libya at risk of the axe.

Up to 1,000 of the RAF's 40,000 personnel will find out tomorrow whether they are being made redundant.

It is not yet clear how many posts at RAF Marham are likely to be affected.

Personnel were given the chance to apply for voluntary redundancy in April, although the MoD said it reserved the right to turn down requests.

It said there would also be compulsory redundancies, as part of a package of job cuts across all three services aimed at reducing Britain's 187,000 service personnel by 17,000.

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Those whose request for voluntary redundancy is accepted will work six months' notice, while those made compulsorily redundant will serve a year's notice.

Personnel receiving the operational allowance, serving on the front lines in Libya and Afghanistan, will be exempt from compulsory redundancies.

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A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: 'Anyone in receipt of operational allowance on the day redundancy notices are issued is not eligible to be made redundant unless they apply.

'This includes personnel operating within the landmass, airspace and territorial waters of Libya.'

Soldiers who are deployed in Afghanistan, about to deploy to the country or who have recently returned from duty there are also protected from redundancy.

Announcing the redundancies in March, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said: 'We need to restructure 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.

'We would prefer not to have to make these reductions, but the Government conducted the SDSR (Strategic Defence Spending Review) against the background of a dire fiscal situation in the economy and a �38bn black hole in the Defence Budget which requires difficult decisions.'

Dr Fox said the reductions would not impact on current operations. But a succession of senior officers have warned the cuts are leaving the armed forces over-stretched and impacting on morale.

Numbers of redundancies at individual bases are not expected to be announced tomorrow.

RAF Marham lost one of its four Tornado squadrons earlier this year, when XIII Sqdn was disbanded.

Its crews had taken part in 3,000-mile raids on Col Gaddafi's air defences, at the start of the Libyan conflict.

But after months of speculation, ministers announced in July that the Norfolk base had survived the defence cuts, after politicians and communities across the county rallied to save it.

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