Interesting extracts from Armed Forces debate 21 Jun 07

#1
You may find this informative reading - the whole debate is at

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2007-06-21a.1534.0

Delays to revised structures

Mark Lancaster MP said:
Can the Under-Secretary of State explain why, as a direct result of the cuts announced today, 124 Squadron 71 Engineer Regiment and 139 Squadron 73 Engineer Regiment will now not be established until 1 April 2009, two years after they were originally to be established? Indeed, there is no guarantee that they will be established then. That will rely entirely on the reinstatement in future years of the funding that has been cut for the next two years.

We have talked at length about the pressure on helicopters in theatre—lack of helicopters and lack of crews. The Minister of State recognised that problem as well when he said, in the same statement in March last year,

"The following new TA units will be formed: an Army Air Corps regiment to support the Apache attack helicopter regiments in the Regular Army".

If it is so important to create those units, why is it that, as a result of today's announcement, 2 Squadron 6 Regiment Army Air Corps will also not be formed until 1 April 2009?

That, alas, is not the end of it. We shall also have to wait for the formation of 280 Squadron 162 Regiment The Royal Logistics Corps; 155 Transport Regiment The Royal Logistics Corps will not expand any further; and crucially, the squadron to support our medics who are under such pressure in Afghanistan and Iraq will not be established until 1 April 2009.

It is not only capability that will be hit so badly in the TA. Personnel will be affected as well. In his statement last year, the Minister of State acknowledged that the Territorial Army was not the same as the regular Army. TA soldiers like me train perhaps on one evening a week and over the occasional weekend. We all have busy jobs. Although they are not necessarily Members of Parliament, by definition most TA soldiers are busy professionals—successful, can-do people with busy day jobs. We are entirely reliant on a very small number of permanent staff in TA units who act as the backbone or skeleton to keep the organisation on the road. But as a result of recent mobilisations many TA soldiers have gone off to Afghanistan and Iraq, and enormous pressure has been put on those permanent staff.

We have had major problems with both pay and mobilisation. In his statement, the Minister of State said:

"we will strengthen the support we give TA units, with about 240 permanent staff recruited to provide administration, welfare, training and employer support."—[ Official Report, 23 March 2006; Vol. 444, c. 427.]

The document, however, is very revealing. Not only is further recruitment of non-regular permanent staff to be stopped entirely, but of the 244 who were originally promised, only 31 have been recruited to date. That figure will not increase, despite what the Minister of State said in his statement about what a genuine requirement this was. I should be grateful if the Under-Secretary of State explained why that is.
Recruiting

Mark Lancaster MP said:
The biggest impact of the cuts will be on recruiting. I understand that the recruiting element of the cuts will be about £2.5 million. The directive has been handed down that all recruiting for units that are not directly supplying soldiers on mobilised service in Afghanistan and Iraq is to stop next year. That is incredibly short-sighted. I speak as a former squadron commander who had 120 soldiers in my unit. The average length of service for a TA soldier is only 3 years. Therefore once every three years, a third of the unit will leave. To turn off the tap and not recruit in one year might create a saving in that year, but it will have an incredibly dramatic impact in years two, three and four.

Point well made - pehaps the 2* was too busy with his day job!

Mark Lancaster MP said:
So the Commander, Regional Forces, the ultimate head of the TA, made no representations about the proposed £5 million cuts? Did the assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, the senior two-star TA officer, make no representations about those cuts? Did the Deputy Inspector General TA, a TA brigadier, make no representations about those cuts? If that is the case, I find it very sad. It is a sad state of affairs when lowly Major Lancaster has to stand up in Parliament to argue the case for the Territorial Army.

Another excellent year for TA recruiting then !

Bernard Jenkin MP said:
Our defence policy is determined not by what is required to support military operations but by the limitations on resources. That is why the manning statement shows that the soldier strength of the Territorial Army stands at 30,550, which is a shortage of 6,300 men and women—a shortfall of 15 per cent.
 
#2
I have to say that in my humble opinion I can only concur with Mjor Lancaster. What is DIGTA doing? He should be prostrating himself in front of these cuts because he MUST know how damaging they are (and will continue to be), to stop it and stand up for what he believes in, not what some 2 star tells him to do. He's there to represent us, not side with the short termist regulars.

Sad.
 
#3
MrTracey said:
I have to say that in my humble opinion I can only concur with Mjor Lancaster. What is DIGTA doing? He should be prostrating himself in front of these cuts because he MUST know how damaging they are (and will continue to be), to stop it and stand up for what he believes in, not what some 2 star tells him to do. He's there to represent us, not side with the short termist regulars.

Sad.
Well said - agree completely. Again, sadly.
 
#4
ABrighter2006 said:
MrTracey said:
I have to say that in my humble opinion I can only concur with Mjor Lancaster. What is DIGTA doing? He should be prostrating himself in front of these cuts because he MUST know how damaging they are (and will continue to be), to stop it and stand up for what he believes in, not what some 2 star tells him to do. He's there to represent us, not side with the short termist regulars.

Sad.
Well said - agree completely. Again, sadly.
Agree totally. Once again, the phrase "lions led by donkeys" comes to mind... :x
 

Similar threads

New Posts

Top