Labour pledges to reverse cuts to armed forces

Parliament returns after the Easter break and one of the first major debates on the timetable is the government’s proposed cuts to the armed forces, which were announced earlier this month as part of the Prime Minister’s “Global Britain” plan.

The planned reductions will take the army to its smallest level in 300 years. Nearly 45,000 personnel have been cut from the armed forces since 2010 and now the government is proposing to cut another 10,000.

Recently retired generals have said that further cuts to the army would mean the UK is no longer taken seriously as a military power.

After nearly a decade of pay freezes and caps the government are handing our armed forces yet another real terms pay cut. A lance corporal in the army will see their pay cut by £445 while an RAF sergeant will lose £610.

Defence personnel aren’t just struggling with pay, but with family life, morale and service life. When they leave the armed forces far too many veterans are left without the support they need, with many ending up homeless and struggling with their mental health.

UK Parliament: Jessica Taylor

Labour wants to hold the Prime Minister to his manifesto pledge and will force a vote in Parliament, calling on the government to rethink its plans to cut our Armed Forces.

The Prime Minister promised at the launch of the Conservative’s 2019 election manifesto that they would “not be cutting the armed services in any form”. Yet his government last month produced a Defence Command Paper that includes plans to reduce the full-time established strength of the Army from 82 500 to 72,000 by 2025. Leaving us with the smallest British Army since 1714.

Labour has accused the government of presiding over “a gulf between ambitions and actions” before a defence review on Monday expected to confirm a cut of 10,000 in the size of the British army.

John Healey, the shadow defence secretary, questioned whether the planned cuts would allow the government to meet its stated goal to deploy the British military more widely “in all corners of the globe”.

“Further army cuts could seriously limit our forces’ capacity simultaneously to deploy overseas, support allies and maintain strong national defences and resilience,” Healey said. “There’s a gulf between the government’s ambitions and its actions, which is set to grow with this new review.”

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