Wounded Soldiers Could Face Redundancy, Leaked Memo Shows

Wounded Soldiers Could Face Redundancy, Leaked Memo Shows

More than twice as many soldiers as previously announced could face being made redundant over the next few years, according to a leaked classified memo.

The document, seen by the Daily Telegraph, suggests as many as 16,500 Army personnel could be made redundant by April 2015, in a dramatic acceleration of cuts to the armed forces.

According to the memo, those laid off could include as many as 2,500 wounded soldiers - 350 of them who have lost a limb, the newspaper said. But the Ministry of Defence said it had "absolutely no plan" to change the way it treated wounded, injured and sick soldiers.

Distancing itself from the contents of the memo, which was reported to have been sent to senior commanders in Afghanistan, an MoD spokeswoman said no decisions had been taken on the scale of the next tranche of redundancies.

Last year's Strategic Defence and Security Review had revealed the Army would be reduced by 7,000 soldiers by 2015. Around 2,000 soldiers have already lost their jobs as spending cuts bite and the Telegraph said the memo indicated another 12,000 would be told in January that their jobs were also at risk, with 2,300 of those to be made redundant.

Among those vulnerable to compulsory redundancy were members of the "rear operations group" of fully-trained personnel on standby to fill in for dead or wounded, it suggested.

Subsequent waves could add as many as 13,000 redundancies by April 2015.

"The total number of personnel selected for redundancy in T1-4 will be approximately 15.5k - 16.5k. All redundancy tranches are scheduled to be complete by Apr 15," the memo was quoted as saying. It also stated that wounded soldiers who had been "temporarily downgraded" would "not be exempt" and those too injured or sick to return to service would be "looked at in more detail".

The newspaper said the suggestion wounded troops could be axed was condemned by soldiers serving in Afghanistan who were shown the memo, and armed forces families.

Head of Army planning, Brigadier Richard Nugee, said: "There is absolutely no plan to change our treatment of service personnel who are wounded injured or sick. We have been clear throughout the redundancy and have made clear in the House of Commons that 'every case of wounded, injured or sick will be assessed individually. No-one will leave the Armed Forces through redundancy or otherwise until they have reached a point in their recovery where leaving the Armed Forces is the right decision, however long it take'."

Labour's Jim Murphy, talking to Sky News, described it as the 'cruelest cut'.


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