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Personnel Reduction

Volume 928: debated on Thursday 17 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the number of jobs (a) in the forces and (b) in civilian life likely to be lost as a result of all the defence cuts since 1st March 1974; and how many have been lost to date.

As set out in the 1975 and 1976 statements on the Defence Estimates, the Ministry of Defence's objective is a reduction of 38,000 in Service personnel and of 40,000 in directly employed civilian staff. The figure for civilians includes those staff of the Property Services Agency engaged on defence work, but excludes those in the Royal Ordnance Factory organisation which operates under a trading fund. In addition the effects of the £230 million cut for 1978–79 are now under study.Compared with the strengths at 1st April 1974–which is the baseline for the exercise—reductions to date amount to 15,200 Service personnel and 21,300 civilian employees.I estimate that, in comparison with the programme contemplated before the defence review, job opportunities in the defence industries and associated suppliers have been reduced by about 90,000 and that this figure will rise to some 140,000 by 1979.