Military cuts hit civil aid, says former head of navy

Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

Defence secretary refuses Treasury demands for military cuts

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CUTS to the armed forces mean they cannot help out in civil situations as much as they should be able to, a former head of the Royal Navy has warned.

Lord West of Spithead, a former first sea lord, is calling on the government to look at staffing levels after thousands of members of the military were called out to help with recent flooding.

The Labour peer said at question time in the House of Lords: ‘Numbers themselves have a real strength. In our push to reduce numbers in the military to get maximum efficiency we are losing this.

‘I do believe we have reduced our numbers of people to a level where they can’t assist, where they should be able to, the civil power.’

His comments came after former head of the army Lord Dannatt called for the government to keep 3,000 soldiers in Germany as a ‘military statement’ to Russia.

Defence minister Lord Astor of Hever told Lord West the government would look closely at the issue and praised the role of the armed forces during the flooding.