TA Training Suspension - Rattle Your MPs/MEPs Cage Please

#1
It may if enough people get involved in writing to their MP, MEP or whoever else of influence it may at least spark some debate. The aim is NOT to take money from other parts of the Defence budget allocation, thereby damaging other units budgets but is instead to raise the wider defence underfunding issues. The Credit Crunch and AFG campaign is hitting the MOD budget drastically. Anyway worth a try...

Perhaps something like this to your local MP would do:

(This has gone to my MP - names deleted for obvious reasons)

.......................................................................................

Dear AN OTHER MP,

Can you please explain to me why the management of Defence Funding has got to this desperate state such that our TA Soldiers are being suspended from training until next financial year. Please see Saturday 10 October issue of The Times article on 'TA to Stop Training'. Nothing as yet has been heard from the MOD.

Only last year we received the plaudits for the TA's 100 years of service and how they are a vital force as part of our 'One Army' concept.

This decision made by the army but driven by lack of funds from HM Treasury is short sighted, and is a kick in the teeth for those many TA soldiers who go on operations (I have gone on two as a TA Officer).

The decision is extremely shortsighted and shows a clear lack of understanding of the value of the TA not just to the army but to society at large. Many young soldiers find that the TA gives them a sense of purpose, makes them better citizens as well as keeps the army in the public eye. In addition the skills they learn are an asset to the workplace and the wider economy.

The costs of maintaining the TA is minimal in the bigger picture and the current role of providing reinforcements for operations has seen huge numbers of TA personnel go on operations. This cost does not take into account the value of the 'volunteer' ethos built around a feeling that the work we do is valued by society and the army.

This break in training will cause many to leave having lost faith in the system, or having found other things to do. Others with experience may find it is the last straw and leave. The level of TA training budget has already been cut back drastically to the point where it will be difficult to keep our skills up to the level required. We have over the years lost a lot of equipment and facilities. I have seen year on year budget cuts well beyond where the 'pips squeak'.

The Government and MOD speak of a military covenant - this has been broken from a TA perspective. Are we a 'Kleenex Army' to be used and then disposed of when not required? I have served for 20 years giving more than most in terms of time and dedication and am appalled at the general treatment of our reserves. What are our TA soldiers about to go, in or just coming back from operations to think of this treatment?

To say I am disgusted is an understatement - next years election will no doubt see how this abominable decision will be rewarded.

I understand that lack of resources and funding may have led to this, but surely this is more about allocation of sufficient resources to the MOD and proper financial management within the MOD in the first case.

I find it laughable that nothing has been heard from any MPs on this issue. Perhaps most are focusing on how to repay wrongly claimed expenses.

I A Mangry

..............................................................................

It disappoints me to see that for many, they see only who in the MOD is more worthy of the available funding and as a result resort to bitter recriminations and infighting. Hitlers 'Divide and Conquer' tactics of WW2 spring to mind
 
S

swampmonster

Guest
#2
Has this been made official yet?...not heard anything from our chain except ignore the press......anyone got it from a real MOD source?
 
#3
Waiting out on confirmation from my CoC tomorrow night. If it's true, that'll be going straight off to my MP.

Not that it'll do any good - let's just say that she had a breakdown after fiddling £22k of expenses to sort out some dry rot in Southampton...
 
#4
Muttley,

Might I suggest given you say you've done 20 odd years in the TA that we wait until we receive the Official version of the budget cut. Not that our MPs will be able to do anything about it in any case...
 
S

swampmonster

Guest
#6
Sooo....No no one has it official yet. :)

Why tomorrow night...Drill night?..you lucky Thing, LOL
 
#7
I have considered waiting.

The 'inside track' at my XX HQ is pretty much in line with the story in the 'The Times'.

I suggest when the 'Official Version' comes out the outcome wont be far different to that story.

Perhaps you are better placed to know and hopefully things aren't as bad as we fear.

There has certainly been no confirmation or rebuttal from the MOD!!

Better to take action immediately methinks!!

Regards

Muttley
 
#8
Muttley, also from me, until this leak is confirmed as true and not mere media speculation, we need to endeavour to reassure the troops from top to bottom that the chain of command still works. With all due respect to your rank and experience, sending out letters to MPs et al, is not a good way of endearing ourselves any further to the machinery of government, nor does it set a good example.

As yet there is no confirmation that the leak is correct, and I note that MOD and Landforces are remarkably quiet and from I know from my respective sources, the suggestion that TA training cease was merely one option. Therefore, I'd ask you to consider withdrawing your post given the foundations of our establishment are shaky enough at present and we don't need the situation to deteriorate further.

DCO.
 
#10
Dry_Clean_Only said:
Muttley, also from me, until this leak is confirmed as true and not mere media speculation, we need to endeavour to reassure the troops from top to bottom that the chain of command still works. With all due respect to your rank and experience, sending out letters to MPs et al, is not a good way of endearing ourselves any further to the machinery of government, nor does it set a good example.

As yet there is no confirmation that the leak is correct, and I note that MOD and Landforces are remarkably quiet and from I know from my respective sources, the suggestion that TA training cease was merely one option. Therefore, I'd ask you to consider withdrawing your post given the foundations of our establishment are shaky enough at present and we don't need the situation to deteriorate further.

DCO.

Couldn't agree more. These "cuts" have not been confirmed and until they are I would strongly suggest that you don't go off half cocked.

As DCO hints it is more than likely that these proposals were one of several schemes designed to save money which some helpful person decided to leak - perhaps to stir up the exact reaction that has ensued. If this is the case I very much hope he is caught and dealt with accordingly.

Also Mutley, for information, the defence budget does not fund operations in Afg.
 
#12
Wise words, DCO.

At the current rate of attrition the army will be broken in a few years. The TA has been the sticking plaster that's stopped it breaking sooner. Kill the TA (and with this suspension of training, if confirmed, this is a likely result) and the regular army may not be able to cope.

It will, however, make any further cuts to the regular army (and these are being discussed) next to impossible. Perhaps that's the plan.
 
#13
A briefing i attended last week mentioned that this was on the cards but suggested it would be a 3 month close down that was likely to commence in January. Most that attended the briefing assumed it was the normal clutching at straws so i was surprised that this was in the media so soon.

The ACF were also mentioned too so they really are looking for every last penny at the moment.

What didnt surprise me was that this is seemingly all to do with Abbeywood and the fact that the Army is now 1.4bn in debt, a debt which the treasury has refused to sort out.
 
#14
rearrange this well known phrase...

straws, clutching, at, are, you.

I suggest that the leak may well have delayed or even diluted the decision to slash Reserve training but the finances are in such dire straits, they have no option - TA activity pay is actually something they can switch off (apart from the lights at Christmas).

It's pathetic really.

I wonder if when these guys were going through Sandhurst X years ago, they ever thought that they would spend their time poncing about with budgets and spreadsheets, rather than bayonets and boots? Needless to say, their skills with a spreadsheet have let them down. Now they need to do something, they don't really understand it.

If they really want to save money, they should simply take some more systemic action - close down Abbey Wood for example - what a monument to wastage that is.

In the meantime, start drafting those letters - the oncoming train is about to arrive in the station.
 
#15
Unfortunately, if you know anything about how the machinations of govt departments work – be it civil servant or military – once a decision has been made, it is too late. You have to get your lobbying in early, and show the reaction that a certain decision will have.

Even at a lower level of a unit, we have all seen that the best time to influence the COs decision is before they make it, because once it’s been made, you have to get behind it fully. Complaining after is just too late, and is only seen as a whinge.

As for wait until there is fact, well it has been confirmed by the MOD press office. It is not our fault that the left and the right hand don’t know what each other are up to.

I don’t want to say there is some naivety around here about how things actually work, but…
 
#16
Wingletang said:
rearrange this well known phrase...

straws, clutching, at, are, you.

I suggest that the leak may well have delayed or even diluted the decision to slash Reserve training but the finances are in such dire straits, they have no option - TA activity pay is actually something they can switch off (apart from the lights at Christmas).

It's pathetic really.

I wonder if when these guys were going through Sandhurst X years ago, they ever thought that they would spend their time poncing about with budgets and spreadsheets, rather than bayonets and boots? Needless to say, their skills with a spreadsheet have let them down. Now they need to do something, they don't really understand it.

If they really want to save money, they should simply take some more systemic action - close down Abbey Wood for example - what a monument to wastage that is.

In the meantime, start drafting those letters - the oncoming train is about to arrive in the station.
There are only 2 areas in the LF TLB that can be looked at to realise any sort of meaningful saving - the TA (pay and training) and regular forces training. It is their spreadsheet skills that tell them this. I would imagine that they have worked up contingencies to cut both.

With regard to the leak serving to dilute or delay any decision to axe reserve training I would disagree. If you look through the Google News reporting of the story there is precisios little, if any comment from anyone who might be considered an "opinion former" coming out vociferously against these proposals (perhaps they were waiting to se whether they were true or not) :) We should not mistake a fire storm on ARRSE as being a groundswell of public opinion. Even the comment on here has almost exclusively come from the TA only.

Got any more bright ideas rather than closing Abbey Wood - pretty sure they are quite busy at the moment procurring equipment for operations.
 
#17
The briefing i went to wasn't anything to do with TA but we were told about because it would have an impact on us.

And again the reason Abbeywood was mentioned was seemingly because a lot of the issues surrounding the 1.4bn debt are directly due to contracts that Abbeywood procured subsequently cancelled and have then had to re-negotiate at massively inflated prices. So i don't doubt that Abbeywood will be seen as a bit of a scapegoat for where the money went.

Budgets are being slashed across the board and it is the same every year so we are no stranger to being told to scrimp and save, although given that there are still over 5 months of the year left to run and with a £1.4bn debt hanging over them, how they are ever going to clear this bill and continue to pay for stuff is beyond me.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#18
The official word from LAND will be out today, and I have permission from clever people to reproduce it on here - so hold you horses, keep your powder dry, and see what is actually proposed before going off at half-cock (Hmm, military metaphors.....)
 
#19
OldSnowy said:
The official word from LAND will be out today, and I have permission from clever people to reproduce it on here - so hold you horses, keep your powder dry, and see what is actually proposed before going off at half-c***
Ohhh. Wonderful. Real, official answers. Thanks, in advance.

You just wonder why it takes the volunteer MOD of a forum on an unofficial website to act as the comms chain ... I'll shut up now.
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#20
Sadly, the leaks are broadly true and, in some respects, the reality will be worse that the Times suggested. I've just sent the following to my (Tory) MP via Write To Them. Feel free to bastardise my text if you want to.

Dear XXXXXXX,


I am writing to draw your attention to the appalling long-term damage being done to the Territorial Army by the current government's decision to make cuts to the 'in-year' training budget.

As you are no doubt aware, the Territorial Army is being required to accept a cut of some £23 Million to its current training budget. In effect, this will mean that most training, other than phase 1 recruit training, will either take place as 'C1' (and thus unpaid) training, or it will not take place at all. In the case of my own unit, we have been told that we may not pay our personnel until 10 April 2010 at the earliest.

It is my opinion that the outcome of this decision will be that many, if not most, of the current cohort of Officer Cadets will drift away from the OTC and will thus be lost to the regular or Territorial Armies for good. With a wider perspective, many trained Territorials will not return to their units when this 'stand down' finishes, having found other ways to use their spare time.

The net result will be that the regular army will struggle to find the trained manpower which has supplemented it on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. It will either have to look elsewhere, or it will have to shorten tour intervals for regulars once again.

Apart from the moral issue of the betrayal of what are, in effect, public sector workers many of whom have put their lives on the line for their country during the past eight years, it is hard to believe that this government understands that it has committed us to fight two major wars, nor that long term investment in training is required in order to build up efficient and cost-effective armed forces.

Can I ask you how a future Conservative government will deal with this issue and whether it will be prepared to make a commitment to give backpay to members of the Territorial Army for any unpaid training they undertake during this period.


Yours sincerely,


XXXXXXXXXXX
 

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