Morale of sailors is affected by Royal Navy cutbacks

Sir Mark Stanhope
Sir Mark Stanhope
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MORALE in the Royal Navy is ‘brittle’ as a result of the cost-cutting drive to slash jobs, the head of the senior service has said.

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, admitted cutbacks to the senior service inevitably had an impact on personnel.

But he added they understood the economic background to the reductions and that overall morale was ‘holding up’.

He said: ‘I wouldn’t wish to pretend people enjoy watching their service reduced in size. That obviously affects our people.’

He added: ‘Morale in certain areas of the navy is more brittle than others, but overall the morale component is holding up.

‘They understand the cause.’

His comments come as the deadline for naval personnel to apply for voluntary redundancy approaches on Monday.

A total of 1,600 Royal Navy personnel will lose their jobs in the first round of redundancies, around 1,200 of which will be among junior ratings.

Sailors will learn their fate in September, as part of the first step to slashing 5,000 jobs from the senior service over the next four years.

In the first of three potential waves of redundancies, the naval service is set to cut 121 officers up to the rank of captain from the warfare, engineering, medical and logistics branches, along with 1,211 junior ratings and 274 senior ratings from various branches.

Fifteen of the Fleet Air Arm’s 59 fixed-wing pilots will also go in the job cuts after Harrier jets were axed. The next wave of redundancies will be announced later this year. The Ministry of Defence said a further wave may be needed and that would be announced early next year.