Budget deal will see cuts to MoD civilians instead of the forces

Trafalgar Day service to be held in Portsmouth tomorrow

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SERVICEMEN and women have been spared from another wave of defence cuts, but civilian staff will bear the brunt instead.

There will be further job 
losses at the Ministry of Defence under a new budget deal agreed with Chancellor George 
Osborne.

The deal, which was agreed with Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, will not see any more cuts to military manpower.

It comes ahead of a government spending review due to take place tomorrow.

Mike Hancock, the MP for Portsmouth South, said: ‘This was inevitable and it’s going to be a very harrowing experience because already a lot have gone over the last couple of years.

‘However, they have very few options.

‘They can’t touch procurement, they can’t touch service numbers, they’re committed to Afghanistan, so there isn’t a lot they can do.

‘Cuts to civil servants in the Ministry of Defence could include things like research and development which would affect us here.’

Last week thousands of Army personnel were told whether they had been made redundant in a wave of previously-announced cuts.

Many of them had applied for voluntary redundancy.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, said: ‘I have settled the defence department, which people thought was going to be one of the biggest and most difficult challenges.

‘It’s going to involve some tough choices.

‘The civilian headcount is going to have to reduce in our defence department.

‘We are going to have to renegotiate, with some of our big suppliers, the contracts.

‘But I can tell you there will not be a reduction in our military capability.

‘We are not going to reduce the number of sailors, soldiers, and airmen.

‘In fact, we are going to be able to spend more money on things like cyber, which is the new frontier in defence.’

The Chancellor also announced plans to use money collected from fines from banks to help support the welfare of troops and veterans.

The government will use money taken from bankers involved in the Libor scandal to go towards helping servicemen and women.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: ‘A tough but deliverable settlement has been achieved that assists the Treasury’s savings targets while protecting military manpower, capabilities, and a fully-funded but efficient equipment programme.

‘Further genuine efficiencies have been found, which has ensured there will be no reductions in military output as a result.’