Civilian cuts threaten capability of UK armed forces


Civilian cuts threaten capability of UK armed forces

Prospect has condemned the announcement by the Ministry of Defence in a letter to all staff that a further 7,000 civilian staff are to be cut by the department between 2015-2020.

MOD says it wants to reduce the number of civilian staff to 53,000. It means the MOD civil service will be half the size it was in 2005. Last year, MOD announced plans to cut 25,000 jobs as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

National secretary Steve Jary said: “This announcement is a bolt out of the blue and staff will rightly be appalled at how the department has gone about the process. It was not mentioned last week in the House of Commons by defence secretary Liam Fox and has not been subject to any consultation at all.

Prospect says it is also in breach of the SDSR document which states that ‘detailed proposals to deliver changes, while retaining defence skills, will be brought forward in consultation with the department’s trade unions.’

Jary said MOD had consistently avoided open and detailed consultation on changes since the SDSR was published last year.

“We are close to a fundamental breakdown of trust with officials. The department keeps announcing significant changes without any consulation, not even advance notification. This is in stark contrast to a useful meeting with Liam Fox last week where he agreed that unions will be fully engaged in the defence reform process set out in Lord Levene’s recent report – especially in securing the cultural and behavioural changes suggested by Levene.

“This core message seems to have been lost on senior officials who plough forwards on a course that spells disaster for the department. The announcement is about what MOD can afford, not what it needs. The reality is that the destruction of the MOD’s cadre of specialist staff will mean increased costs for defence, through poorer and more expensive equipment and poses a risk to our arned forces.

Jary said the latest cuts will take place in the next comprehensive spending review round: “No one knows what the defence budget will be after 2015, MOD does not even know what its civilian requirement will be for next year.”