So, the first compulsory redundancies have been announced as we inch closer to the conclusion of Planning Round 11.
11,000 service personnel will be made redundant as part of the SDSR plans to reduce the total number by 17,000. The 11,000 figure comprises about 5,000 from the army, 3,300 from the Navy and 2,700 from the RAF. The remainder of the cuts will be achieved by a reduction in recruitment.
Although Jim Murphy, the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, has a habit of forgetting the past decade or so he is actually quite an effective Shadow for Liam Fox, landing several effective blows to which Dr fox had very little response.
Jim Murphy said
It’s clear that some of our brave forces taking on the Taliban will be welcomed home as heroes by the public but sacked by their government
To which Liam Fox responded
I have repeatedly made it clear that we have compulsory redundancy schemes in the armed forces because we need to maintain the rank structure and skills base required. When compulsory redundancies are announced, they will not affect those in receipt of the operational allowance, those within six months of deploying or those on post-operational tour leave, as I made clear in the House
Which will I am sure provide some relief to those on their short post operational tour leave, POTL, depends on the tour length but for a 6 month tour would be 20 working days or a month.
Those within 6 months of deploying will be training for deployment so any redundancies there would severely impact operational planning.
We all understand the difficulties but Liam Fox should not try and take any credit for ‘sparing’ those who are deployed, in the pre-deployment training cycle or on POTL, it makes him look rather pathetic, especially neglecting to mention that POTL only lasts about a month.
The RAF was first out of the traps to announce details, approximately 1,020 RAF personnel will be selected for redundancy in Tranche 1, including the 170 personnel already announced form the training pipeline. A total of up to 100 each will go from the Weapons System Officers Branch and Weapons Systems Operator Trade, as well as up to 529 ground tradesmen and up to 121 officers of Air Commodore rank and below. Reductions in officers of Air Vice-Marshal rank and above are also planned outside the redundancy programme. No trained pilots will face redundancy in this tranche despite the recent announcement that two Tornado squadrons will be scrapped.
Does this look a little disproportionate?
Reduction of 2 Tornado squadrons, withdrawal of Nimrod and yet no compulsory reductions in trained pilots. Perhaps the ones that were facing the chop have all voluntarily buggered off or the pilots are being saved for Tranche 2, nice.
Speaking of those Tornado’s, 14 Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, and X111 Squadron at RAF Marham will be disbanded. These disbandments will occur on 1st June, leaving the RAF with 136 Tornado GR4 swing wing strike aircraft spread across five operational squadrons.
14 Squadron returned from Afghanistan on only recently and had their homecoming parade on the 19th of February.
More to come, the Royal Navy and Army will make their announcements in due course