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1,000 military staff made redundant
More than 1,000 military personnel are to lose their jobs in the fourth and final round of the Government's armed forces redundancy programme, announced today.
Almost three out of four (72%) soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who will now leave the services under the scheme had applied for voluntary redundancy, with the rest going compulsorily.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "Today marks the end to a period of uncertainty and doubt for our personnel.
"The announcement of the final tranche of the redundancy scheme we introduced to rebalance our armed forces and address the black hole in the defence budget in 2010 allows greater certainty for armed forces personnel going forward.
"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."
The latest tranche will take the total number to have gone under the programme since it started in 2011 to more than 12,000.
In all, 1,060 personnel will leave in the final round - down on the 1,505 officials were predicting in January would have to leave.
The heaviest losses will be in the Army, with 995 personnel set to go. The RAF will lose 55 and the Royal Navy 10.
In a message to the departing personnel, chief of the defence staff General Sir Nicholas Houghton thanked them for their service.
"For both applicants and non-applicants this announcement today will present opportunities and challenges, but I can assure you that you will be supported throughout by the wider military community as you make the transition into civilian life or into our reserve forces," he said.
The latest losses come the day after the National Audit Office warned that the Ministry of Defence would struggle to meet its target to expand the number of part-time Army reservists from 19,000 to 30,000 by 2018 to help make up for the loss of full-time regular soldiers.
The Whitehall spending watchdog said it could be a further six years before the Army Reserve was up to full strength - a claim dismissed by Mr Hammond, who insisted that its recruitment programme was on track.
Shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker said: "Just a day after we found out the Army needs to recruit thousands more troops to meet its requirement, this Government is sacking soldiers.
"The Defence Secretary said he would recruit 11,000 new reserves to make up for the 20,000 Armed Forces personnel he plans to cut. But since 2011, 12,000 military personnel have been made redundant while the number of reserves has actually fallen.
"It's no wonder that under David Cameron's Government, morale in the Armed Forces has collapsed. Over a quarter of service personnel say they are dissatisfied with service life, and almost a third of all servicemen and women across the Army, the Royal Navy and the RAF rate their morale as low.
"Britain's Armed Forces will be left with a dangerous capability gap unless the Defence Secretary gets a grip and sorts this mess out."