World News - Fox defends armed forces job cuts
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    World News - Fox defends armed forces job cuts

    31 August 2011 Last updated at 21:25 ET Cuts being made to the Armed Forces will mean Britain's defence capability can grow later in the decade, Defence Secretary Liam Fox has said.

    He was speaking on the day 930 RAF and 920 Army personnel will be told they are being made redundant - including 750 compulsory redundancies.

    The Army and RAF will eventually have cut 7,000 and 5,000 posts respectively.

    Mr Fox blamed the "incompetence" of the Labour government for the cuts but said the UK would still have strong forces.

    Mr Fox said: "The extra money we have allocated for the equipment budget from 2015 will allow our defence capability to grow in the second half of the decade."

    He said the previous Labour government "left the nation's finances broken" and a "£38bn black hole" in the defence budget.

    The tough measures would bring the budget largely into balance for the first time in a generation, he said.

    "Of course redundancies are always sad news, but we will continue to have strong and capable forces and we appreciate the hard work of our brave armed forces," said Mr Fox.

    Questions over morale The armed forces are looking to shed 22,000 posts over the next four years - more than half through redundancies.

    BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said there had been plenty of volunteers for redundancy which was likely to raise more questions about morale.

    In the Army, 870 soldiers volunteered for redundancy, but only 660 have been accepted, our correspondent said.

    This means that 260 Army personnel who did not apply for redundancy will be forced out of a job, he said.

    More than half of those compulsory redundancies - 150 - will be Gurkhas.

    In the RAF there were 620 applications for redundancy, said our correspondent, 440 of them have been approved. That means most redundancies - 490 - will be compulsory, he said.

    On Wednesday, the MoD said personnel receiving the operational allowance, because they are serving on operations in Libya and Afghanistan, will be exempt from the cuts unless they apply.

    It also said nobody preparing for or recently returned from operations in Afghanistan will be made redundant unless they have volunteered.

    And the BBC has been told that no RAF pilots or ground crew involved in operations over Libya will be forced to leave in this round of redundancies.

    Members of the armed forces accepted for voluntary redundancy will serve six months notice, while those forced out will serve a year.

    Are you under threat of redundancy? What is your reaction to the issues raised in this story? Please get in touch using the form below:

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    World News - Fox defends armed forces job cuts

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