The Government’s first duty is the security of our country and they plan to reduce the size of our Army to 82,000 by the year 2020. Their “grand plan” is that a full-time cadre will be complimented by a Reserve Force of 30,000.
A Reservist requires 2 years training to reach the standard required to fit seamlessly into the new Army structure. It can therefore be seen that to be ready by 2020, the 30,000 will have to be recruited and in training by at the latest 2018.
In the interim, the reduction in numbers of the regular part of our Army is going apace, with Battalions being disbanded and redundancy notices being served. Recruiting is going very badly, without boring the reader with statistics which can readily be found from government disclosures, it is clear that there is no way that 30,000 trained reservists will be anywhere near ready by 2018.
The effectiveness of getting those reservists trained has to be questioned. I have it on good authority from a full-time Warrant Officer in a Reserve Unit who is responsible for the training programmes of his unit that the reservists are reluctant to attend their requisite 28 days. Then suddenly, in mid-March, they all realise they are going to miss out on their bounty payment for which have to do the 28 days. So, they phone him up and beg for “training” or to come and do some gash jobs that need doing to qualify. Regrettably, he cannot accommodate them all.
This is in spite of numerous pay enhancements and payments to employers to try and boost numbers. And, of course, in the case of soldier not doing his 28 days, what will the Commanding Officer do? Sign them off as having done their 28 days, or refuse the bounty payment and risk losing the soldier from the unit. Frankly, this was never going to work.
The projected savings to the Defence budget to plug the oft quoted black hole are shrinking by the day as these “extra” costs are being fed into the recruiting system. We have therefore a situation where our Government is lowering our defensive capabilities BEFORE they have the necessary reserve forces recruited, let alone trained.
This is a very dangerous time to be doing this, there will be a capability gap in our defences and I am certain that those who are not particularly friendly towards the UK will have noted our weaker position.
It is my contention that the government should call a halt to disbanding any more Infantry Units until the Reserves are recruited and in training, and that a thorough scrutiny of what, if any, savings there are over retaining the status quo.
UKIP are the natural supporters of strong defences and I hope that Forces’ families will see this and vote accordingly, particularly in marginal seats, remember each serviceman/woman will have an extended family which must translate into many hundreds of thousand votes.
I’d also appreciate it if you’d take a look at this link:-