Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:6AM
The British army faces losing almost 20 percent of its personnel by 2015 based on a decision expected to be announced by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) next month. Around 9,500 soldiers will be sacked in three years while another 6,000 will be cut through recruitment restrictions, effectively reducing army personnel from 97,000 to 82,000 by 2015. The redundancy plan is set to cost the MoD an estimated £1 billion Senior sergeants and middle-ranking officers, particularly majors, will be the main targets of job cuts. The proposal to axe one in five regular soldiers is a two year plan was announced in 2010, but the MoD failed to meet the deadline. British Chancellor George Osborne is now demanding speeding up of the process after forecasts showed that next year's growth would hit 1.2 percent rather than 2 percent. “The tougher economic conditions mean that while our deficit is forecast to go on falling, instead of taking three years to get our debt falling, it is going to take four,” Osborne said. This comes as British Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier on Wednesday that London would withdraw 3,800 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2013. British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has announced the soldiers deployed to Afghanistan or those heading for the South Asian country will remain exempt from cuts. “Announcements about future tranches of Army redundancy will be made in the New Year,” he added. MOS/AMR/HE