http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/12833543?source=Evening%20Standard General blasts Army cuts By Andrew Gilligan, Evening Standard 27 August 2004 One of the Army's most senior generals in charge of personnel has said he is "stuck" to think of any "defensible argument" for curbing recruiting - as planned by Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon in the latest round of cuts. Major General Bill Rollo, the deputy adjutant general, said the Army was being "asked to do the impossible", according to classified minutes of a top-level meeting leaked to the Evening Standard. The meeting took place a few months before Mr Hoon announced massive cuts to the armed forces, including a reduction of 1,500 in the Army infantry. The minutes make clear that despite their public silence on the issue, many senior officers will be vehemently opposed to the cuts at a time when the Army has seldom been busier. Bruce George, chairman of the Commons defence committee, who denounced the infantry cuts as the work of an "idiot", said the leaked document would be "very useful" when his committee questioned Mr Hoon next month. "The Government will have to be very persuasive to convince people that the size of the Army should be reduced, given all the pressures on it," Mr George said. The minutes, from the Adjutant General's management board meeting of 21 January, show how heavy the pressure on the Army's budget was, even before the changes announced last month. The Adjutant General himself, Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin, urged commanders to "put the squeeze on their spending". David Wadsworth, the civilian official in charge of schools for soldiers' children, expressed his "bitter disappointment" about moves to cut teacher numbers and put school improvements on hold. After years in which Army chiefs worried that not enough people wanted to join up, Iraq and Afghanistan have produced a surge in recruits. But because of the cuts, many are no longer wanted. The Army's director of manning, Brigadier Cedric Burton, is quoted in the minutes as saying the increase in the number of recruits was a "problem".