Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Monday, 4 April 2011 15:50 UK

Handling of armed forces redundancies 'inexcusable'

The handling of the government's announcement on armed forces redundancies was "simply inexcusable", shadow defence minister Jim Murphy has said.

Summoning Armed Forces Minister Andrew Robathan to the despatch box to answer an urgent question on 4 April 2011, Mr Murphy told MPs that the government's failure to notify personnel before details of the redundancies were leaked to the media showed that those affected had been subject to "shabby" treatment.

"We all know no-one can stop all redundancies within the Ministry of Defence but the first time this was mishandled, ministers said it was an accident," he said.

"The second time they said it was a mistake. Well on behalf of these benches, the third time is simply inexcusable. It is time for this shabby treatment of our Armed Forces to end soon."

The MoD has announced that its first wave of redundancies will include 1,000 from the Army and 1,600 from the Navy.

Mr Robathan said it was "extremely disappointing" that details of the redundancies were leaked to the press before armed forces personnel were briefed, and "appalling" that the story had been published.

He told the Commons that those "who had served in Afghanistan at some stage may have to be considered for redundancy" because 55% of the Army had been posted to the country.

He said: "We do not yet know what operations will be current in September, when people will have received their redundancy notices.

"We are looking at this carefully and we would certainly not wish to make anybody redundant who is serving on combat operations."

The Armed Forces are set to lose 17,000 posts over the next four years as a result of defence spending cuts. The Army will lose 5,000 jobs, the Royal Navy 3,300 and the RAF 2,700 posts.

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