Sneaky defence cuts, from the Telegraph

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jonwilly, Jul 22, 2005.

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  1. By Brendan Carlin, Political Correspondent
    (Filed: 22/07/2005)

    John Reid, the Defence Secretary, was accused yesterday of attempting to " out" the announcement of thousands of job cuts in the Armed Forces.

    Mr Reid was privately criticised by a Cabinet colleague after seeking to confirm the loss of some 2,500 military and civilian posts in statements issued by ministers during the final Commons sitting of the summer.


    John Reid: 'blundered'
    The formal announcements of the job losses, which are designed to save up to £500 million over 10 years, were made by Don Touhig, a junior defence minister, who was forced to go to the House.

    The restructuring also includes the disbandment of four RAF Regiment ground-based air defence regiments with the loss of 340 posts.

    In a reorganisation of the military supply chain, the storage depots at Stafford, Llangennech and Longtown will close with the loss of 2,000 civilian and 50 military posts.

    The Cold War RAF radar station at Saxa Vord on the Shetland island of Unst will be mothballed, a move that will affect more than 100 Service and civilian personnel.

    The RAF Regiment units to be axed over three years are 37 Squadron based at RAF Wittering, 15 and 16 Squadrons at RAF Honnington and 26 Squadron at RAF Waddington.

    The Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment's 2625 (County of Cornwall) Squadron based at RAF St Mawgan will also be disbanded.

    Mr Touhig indicated that there would be consultations over the job losses.

    Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, who forced the minister to come to the Commons, said it "beggared belief" that the MoD had tried to release the information only through written statements.

    Mr Carmichael, whose constituency includes Unst, also complained that Mr Reid was preparing to brief journalists on the plans but had not been ready to speak to MPs.

    The Saxa Vord decision was "very bleak news indeed" for his constituents. He said: "In a community of 700 people, the loss of 100 jobs and incomes is a devastating blow."

    Gerald Howarth, the Tory defence spokesman, accused the MoD of trying to "sneak out" the news on the day the Commons broke up for the summer recess.

    The defence announcements were among 65 government statements made during the last Commons sitting before October.

    Describing the cuts as part of a "steady attrition" against the RAF, Mr Howarth said ministers were guilty of a "gross discourtesy" to parliament over decisions that were "affecting constituencies right across this land".

    A Cabinet minister privately said Mr Reid had blundered by not making his announcements directly to MPs.

    Mr Touhig defended the Defence Secretary by saying Mr Reid could not be present in the Commons because he was in a meeting discussing the July 7 terrorist attacks.

    In his written statement, Mr Reid said the changes would allow the Army's Royal Regiment of Artillery to take over responsibility for ground-based air defences.

    The RAF Regiment would focus on protecting other elements of the Armed Forces, particularly while on deployment.

    As part of the changes, the RAF Regiment's 3 Squadron at RAF Aldegrove and the Queen's Colour Squadron at RAF Uxbridge would be expanded by about 40 troops each.

    An MoD spokesman said it had planned to be "as open as possible" by first announcing the moves in written statements, then briefing the press.
     
  2. lots of nu labour buzz words, "Consultations" and all that but at the end of the day a lot more troops are going to be loosing jobs and in these uncertain days with attacks on London are more defence cuts really a good idea???????????????
    Not that i am a huge fan of the RAF Regt but they do a good job, be it stagging on or cloud punching or storming airfields or more recently ops in Iraq........ so taking half their jobs from them by removing their AD role is not fair .... but nu labour dont care
     
  3. What was that about good days to release bad news?

    I made the point when Reid first came in that he wasn't a friend of the Armed Forces , I think recent events have proved my case.
     
  4. I should imagine, that the figures do not look that bad, the "storage depot" at Stafford was the largest military stores in Europe at one stage. they are trying to run the MOD like business. and they are also reporting numbers falsly. the 2000 civilian posts is in this round of cuts.yes maybe this time, i am sure at one tim eover 3000 civiliands worked at stafford alone, there are also 16 accomodation blocks empty from the singly servicemen/women that used to live there, not counting MQ's

    RAF Stafford was at one time the largest employer in Stafford. since the change to DLO or whatever it is called they have decimated the services supply chain, and closing depots that work to move them to ones that dont. Stafford isideally suited for transportation and storage as it is centrally located and in the heart of the transport system.

    this is nothing else but to appease grasping Gordon save money to pay off debts of other countries and the so called 'just in time' supply system. does it really work?

    Neu arbeit~ got to love them
     
  5. I'm struggling to think of anyone we could fit in this bracket! The appointment of 'Oh fcuk - not Health' Reid to a crucial job like Defence is bearing the sickly poison fruit we all feared it would. He said this on the day he took up his new post:

    I have difficulty believing that John can even see the distinction.

    Astonishingly for someone whose own father was in the Army (Scots Guards) and served in WW2, Reid has totally lost sight of where he's going. After his first wife died whilst he was visiting troops in Cyprus in 1998, and the machine kicked into gear to get him back pronto (presumably on a Cat 2), he said of the affair:

    Scant words of comfort indeed John. I imagine it must be fantastic to live in a world where you can pick and choose your morals as you see fit. I'll leave the last words to John, but I wonder if his father is as proud of his son...

     
  6. Let's be honest, Reid is a fatherless!
     
  7. TCH was such an egotistical tw*t , he actually couldn't understand why we didn't like him

    Dr. Reid is not a slave to his vanity, and he really couldn't care less if we like him or not. If something unpleasant needs doing , summon "The Hatchet" . He's done it over and over again, why should he change now?
     
  8. Following in the footsteps of his predeccesor i see! :evil:
     
  9. Another tw@t of a defence secretary without the b@lls to raise the matters in the House.

    I'm glad I got out last year! :D
     
  10. Lets face it, the powers that be are determined to cut us to the bone, despite the fact that we are still busier than ever. In addition, they are having to finance a huge equipment program in order to bring us up to the right level that we have asked for in the past.

    I think the cuts are in the wrong place, and should be aimed further up the food chain. Lets start looking where we can make other proper cuts - why do we have huge Brigade and Div HQs, and these small little Bde HQs in Netheravon etc. Time we started looking at all our processes and deciding just which ones we should really be performing. If it means radical thinking to preserve our 1st and 2nd line, then lets get to it. Boots on the ground are what matter, not pen pushers in comfy chairs.
     
  11. Defence does not and never has won votes.

    The massed unwashed just wants hospital beds and schools, if a Govt is seen spending cash on the military the tree huggers go nuts.

    Now where is my monster raving loony party manifesto..................................................................................
     
  12. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer


    " Without strong Defence you have no roads, schools or hospitals....what you have is a pile of ashes. "


    Denis Healey, Labour's Secretary of State for Defence 1966

    --

    Le Chevre
     
  13. A good saying now if we could only get the Labour party back in power? I dont know what happened to Labour, they fell out the picture after the death of John Smith.... but thats transgressing, have look to where the movement of stores are going, wonder how many are in safe labour seats? or dare i say it without looking, maybe in cabinets members home counties
    ?
     
  14. It's always been that way, and the US has it even worse ("Pork Barrel Politics"). See the discussion page on the Eurofighter for an example.....
     
  15. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Short History lesson - after the Cold War ended, and Defence was being run down at a great rate, which constituency had the greatest net increase in Defence-related jobs?

    Answer: Huntingdon, whose MP = John Major, MP, and PM. We always assumed that this was pure coincidence :)