NEWS
30/09/2011 03:30 BST | Updated 29/11/2011 05:12 GMT

Defence Cuts: Royal Navy To Axe 350 Sailors In Round Of Compulsory Redundancies

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- About 350 sailors are being forced out of the Royal Navy against their will as part of defence cuts.

A total of around 1,020 Navy personnel will be told they are being made redundant in the first round of military job losses, a third of them compulsorily.

Some 810 sailors applied for redundancy but only 670 of them are being allowed to leave.

Navy personnel who risked their lives during the Libyan campaign - including crew members of HMS Cumberland, which helped rescue British citizens from the North African country in February - are among those being axed, The Daily Telegraph reported this week.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) stressed that nobody deployed on operations, preparing for operations or on post-tour leave on the day redundancy notices are issued would be forced out of their job.

Royal Marines, who form part of the Navy, are exempt from the current tranche of redundancies.

The plans to cut posts were announced earlier this year as part of a programme which could see 11,000 redundancies across the Royal Navy, Army and RAF by April 2015 in an effort to tackle the deficit and bring the defence budget under control.

Earlier this month about 920 soldiers and 930 RAF personnel were told they were being made redundant, 750 of them against their will.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the past actions of military chiefs had helped lead to the cuts. He told the Guardian that the MoD had to accept a share of the blame for the depth of cuts to the military budget that had led to thousands of redundancies.

He said: "I think the MoD consistently dug a hole for itself that it eventually found that it could not climb out of. It is irritating to hear some of those who helped create the problem criticising us when we try to bring in a solution."