Redundancies in British Army

UK troops to reduce to just 82,000 by 2020

When the economy of any country is facing a down-turn, the redundancies across all sectors and government departments including the army is but natural. The question is how much to cut and are the current targets cutting into the bone?

In his recent statements, General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff (CGS) has admitted that over and above the 7,000 redundancies announced by the government, the Army will have to let go another 5,000 soldiers. This reduces the size of British Army to 90,000 by 2015 and to just over 82,000 by 2020. 

There are the usual politically correct brave statements that are being made that the British Army will be very efficient and these cuts will not impact the military reach or influence that the UK has globally. If we were to take a pause and benchmark ourselves across the world, the size of British Army is nowhere close to other comparable countries. While China leads the pack with an Army of more than 2,000,000 soldiers, other countries such as USA, Russia, North Korea and India all have more than 1,000,000 soldiers. Itís any bodyís guess as to how an efficient Army of 82,000 will fare against those numbers and what will be the eventual influence of the UK on world geo-political and military landscape. 

From an insurance perspective it is sad that though many of those that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and where 556 British troops have been killed since September 9-11 attacks, few of them have any job prospects when they return home. In an alleged leaked memo, Gen Sir Peter has written that many battalions being fully disbanded in order to meet the cost cuts.  

As additional cuts are now being scoped it inevitably requires a further redundancy programme. Sadly soldiers are not eligible to buy accident, sickness and unemployment insurance and if they are made redundant, all they have to depend on is the statutory payments from the government. Kesh Thukaram, Director of Best Insurance commenting on the latest memo of Sir Peter said that the approach of the British government was bit of a gamble, though it can be argued that the Army has little choice but to take tough decisions, the long term impact has the danger to outweigh the short term benefits of meeting cost cutting targets. He also added that it will be helpful if the insurers can come up with a specific income protection and payment protection insurance plans for the soldiers as they all have employment contracts similar to any other profession and more importantly on the firing line ready to sacrifice their lives for the country.

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