David Cameron: we will not make any more cuts to troops

There will be no further job cuts in Army, Navy or Air Force, David Cameron has said.

By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent4:17PM BST 14 Jun 201325 Comments

The Prime Minister intervened after Gen Sir Peter Wall, the head of the Army, said further cuts to troops could harm Britain's ability to fight wars.

Speaking ahead of the G8 summit, Mr Cameron made it clear that the Ministry of Defence will find ways of saving money that do not involve more job losses than those already planned. "We're not going to be making further cuts to the numbers of our Army, Navy or Air Force, they know what they have available," he said.
The Treasury is seeking £11.5 billion of savings across all departments and is expecting the Ministry of Defence to submit to its share of cuts.

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, has promised to make as many savings as he can without harming Britain's frontline military capabilities.

However, he has suggested that this is likely to fall short of the Treasury's demands, as the scale of cuts would involve sacking many more military personnel.

Earlier today, Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, insisted the Ministry of Defence will still be required to make some deep savings, despite the complaints of senior officers.

He said it was possible to make cuts when the Ministry of Defence has "more horses than tanks".

However, senior military figures disagree, arguing the Army will not be able to cope with more cuts beyond plans to slash the number of soldiers from 102,000 to 82,000.

Gen Sir Peter Wall told Sky News on Thursday that further cuts would be dangerous, disruptive and damage the country’s ability to win wars.

The senior military boss said it would be dangerous to lose more troops when the Army is already being reduced so drastically.

“Imposing more on us now before the last round of efficiencies have really materialised properly in a balanced way would be very disruptive," he said last night.

"We have got to the point in a number of parts of our set-up where we can’t go any further without seriously damaging our professional competence and our chances of success on the battlefields of the future.”

Gen Nick Carter, the most senior British officer in Afghanistan, also said that politicians and not the military would be to blame for any depletion of Britain’s military resources: “At the end of the day our politicians need to determine what they want the Army to do. If they determine that the Army is going to do less then it’s reasonable for them to reduce it still further.”

He added: “We are bound as military people to point out the risks during the course of this to our political masters and ultimately it’s down to them to look themselves in the mirror each morning and determine whether or not those risks are manageable.”