December 4, 2020

British Army could be slashed to smaller than GERMANYS as troops already over-stretched – Daily Express

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1359910/british-army-mod-cuts-defence-armed-forces-germany-france-tobias-ellwood-defence-review

, chairman of Parliament’s influential Defence Committee, outlined his grave concern about plans to put the proposed integrated on ice – and said any decision to freeze recruitment prior to the completion of this process was “back to front”. Defence chiefs are planning a in a bid to save cash, according to one source, with military bases also likely to close, and fighter jet orders being cut back.

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At present, the British Army has 74,000 troops, 8,000 below its target of 82,000.

The number is likely to plummet to the low 60,000s if recruitment is halted, given 10,000 soldiers leave every year.

For comparison, Germany currently has 62,000 soldiers, Spain 70,000 and France 115,000.

Boris Johnson Angela Merkel

The army of Angela Merkel’s Germany could soon be bigger than that of Boris Johnson’s Britain (Image: GETTY)

Tobias Ellwood MP

Tobias Ellwood MP is concerned at the prospect of troop reductions (Image: GETTY)

Significant reductions raise the prospect of Britain’s nearest European neighbour having almost double the number of troops.

In light of the need to tighten belts in response to the pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has opted against offering the Ministry of Defence a three-year budget settlement, instead offering a one-year deal worth £1.9 billion – a figure an insider said was not adequate.

Following the news, Mr Ellwood, Tory MP for Bournemouth East, told Express.co.uk: “The Integrated Review is supposed to update and prioritise our global interests and instruct the MoD how to advance our defence posture.

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Soldiers United Kingdom

British troop numbers could fall below those of the German army, critics fear (Image: GETTY)

It’s clear our Armed Forces are already over-stretched meeting current commitments

Tobias Ellwood MP

“If the MoD is being told simply to reduce troop numbers – before we’ve even confirmed what they are supposed to do – then the Review is back to front.

“It’s clear our Armed Forces are already over-stretched meeting current commitments.

“With threats over the next decade expected to increase and diversify now is not the time to let our guard down.”

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Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron speaks to French soldiers in Estonia (Image: GETTY)

Joe Biden

President-Elect Joe Biden (Image: GETTY)

According to the insider the decision to halt recruitment is a reaction to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

They told the Sun: “A lot of painful decisions would have to be made that effect the whole Armed Forces.

“That would include a recruitment freeze.”

Largest militaries

The largest militaries in the world (Image: Express)

They added: “If we can’t get a multi-year, we need a meaningful in-year settlement but £1.9billion for one year is less than half of what we need.”

Referring to events across the Atlantic, Mr Ellwood also said: “With Biden entering the White House, seeking to play a more constructive active and pro-active role on the global stage, we should anticipate a new era of Western resolve to confronting emerging threats such as China.

“Let’s prove we are once again a worthy and reliable ally by responsibly completing the Integrated Review and upgrading our defence posture.

Soldiers Liverpool Remembrance Day

Soldiers in Liverpool stage a one-minute’s silence on Remembrance Da (Image: GETTY)

“Any delay sends a poor message to our allies of our resolve to play a more influential role on the international stage.

An MoD spokesman said: “This Government has committed to grow defence spending.

“In light of the decision to move to a one year Spending Review, we are considering the implications for the completion of the Integrated Review, and will provide an update in due course.”