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Army to shed 5,300 jobs

Army to shed 5,300 jobs

Over 5,000 Armed Forces personnel will be made redundant under the latest round of defence cuts, ministers have announced.

The MoD said up to 5,300 personnel will lose their jobs, as part of plans to reduce the size of the regular army to 82,000 by 2017.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond this morning defended the changes, saying redundancies were "unavoidable" as the Government tries to balance the MoD budget.

But Labour's Jim Murphy has called on ministers to rethink the proposals in light of the "emerging threat" in North Africa.

Writing for PoliticsHome this afternoon, the Shadow Defence Secretary urges the Government to re-open its Strategic Defence and Security Review, saying the plan's "flaws" have been exposed by recent events.

"A strategy which was flawed in 2010 looks hazardous in 2013," he writes. "While the Prime Minister has told the nation that 'we are in the midst of a generational struggle', he has not sufficiently reassured us how the new security strategy can be realised.

" Today was a missed opportunity to reassure not only about the future strength of our Forces, but how they will be reformed to meet the threat on the new front in North Africa."

In the first wave of losses in 2011 more than 2,800 personnel from across the armed forces were selected for redundancy. The second round of redundancies resulted in losses of more than 4,000 military personnel in June last year.

Former defence chief Lord Dannatt said it was "bad timing" to announce the cuts so soon after the Prime Minister had stressed the importance on countering militants in Mali and West Africa.

"It looks a little odd to be thinking about a developing situation in a very difficult part of the World when you’re making your defence capability smaller," he told BBC News. "There is a risk in all of this," he added.

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