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Armed Forces Redundancy Programme

Volume 538: debated on Tuesday 17 January 2012

The Government announced in the outcome of the strategic defence and security review in October 2010 that, as part of moving to Future Force 2020, we would reduce the size of the Regular Army by 7,000 personnel, and both the naval service and Royal Air Force by 5,000 personnel. In addition, in order to balance the British Army’s regular and reserve forces, further reductions were subsequently identified to deliver a Regular Army of around 82,000 by 2020. We also made clear that, in order to maintain balanced force structures for the future, an element of these reductions would need to be made through a redundancy programme.

Our statement of 1 March 2011, Official Report, column 21WS, set out the process and timetable for the armed forces redundancy programme. Consequently, in September 2011, 2,860 service personnel were notified of their redundancy in the first tranche; 1,020 service personnel from the naval service, 920 from the Army and 920 from the Royal Air Force. Of those made redundant in tranche 1, some 1,770 (62%) had applied for selection.

Today the services are announcing the fields from which they will select personnel to be made redundant in the second tranche of the programme. This will comprise up to 300 members of the naval service, up to 2,900 members of the Army and up to 900 members of the Royal Air Force. This will be the last major tranche for the Navy and the Royal Air Force, who will be able to achieve the majority of the remaining draw-down by other means.

The same selection principles as used in the first tranche will be applied. The services will seek applicants, but will also consider all personnel that meet the published criteria. The redundancy programme will not impact adversely on the current operations in Afghanistan, and no one who is preparing for, deployed on, or recovering from specified operations on the day that redundancy notices are issued will be made redundant unless they have applied. Personnel who are assessed as being permanently below the level of fitness required to remain in the forces will not be considered for redundancy, and will instead leave through the medical discharge route at the appropriate stage in their recovery.

Throughout the redundancy process, we will ensure that we retain the capabilities that our armed forces require in order to meet the challenges of the future.