A report by the Public Accounts Committee released today has accused the Government of botching the restructuring of the Army.
The “Army 2020” programme plans to integrate a regular Army of 82,500 with a larger and more frequently used Army Reserve (formerly known as the Territorial Army) of 30,000. Pre-2010 there were 102,000 regulars and 19,000 reservists.
The Government stands accused of failing to adequately consult the Army before embarking on the restructuring and risking capabilities by missing recruitment targets.
The defence budget is notoriously difficult to control. Massive cost overruns on major projects are commonplace and decisions are subjected to intense scrutiny, especially when the armed forces are deployed on operations.
However George Osborne announced at the Spending Round in 2013 that the MoD’s Capital and Resource Departmental Expenditure Limits would be frozen in cash terms for 2014-15 and 2015-16.
Given the need to make savings and the political unpopularity of making service personnel redundant, there will have to be a substantial decrease in the number of civilian staff at the MoD if the Chancellor is to hit his spending targets. Indeed at the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010 it was announced that 25,000 civilian jobs at the MoD were to be cut by 2015.
A new research note by the TaxPayers’ Alliance examines the long term trend in the number of military personnel compared to the number of civilian personnel in the UK since 1945.