HUNDREDS of Hampshire jobs could be under threat after another round of army job cuts was announced.
It is the third ‘tranche’ of the Armed Forces Redundancy Programme with 5,300 jobs to be axed in the next year.
Hampshire regiments that could be targeted include the Adjutant General's Corps based at Worthy Down, near Winchester, the Army Air Corps in Middle Wallop, the Royal Army Medical Corps in Gosport, and the county’s Princess of Wales Royal Regiment.
The MoD has not confirmed exactly where jobs will be lost yet and today a spokeswoman for the Adjutant General's Corps also declined to comment on whether it would be affected.
Winchester MP Steve Brine said no details had been released on job cuts but that the government would pursue voluntary redundancies.
He said: “This is going to be a painful process and we all bitterly regret it is needed at all. While compulsory job losses are of course possible, if the first two tranches are anything to go by, significant numbers will be taken by voluntary departures and I know Government wants to maximise that.”
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond said: “The Army is actively managing recruitment to reach the target numbers, but unfortunately redundancies are unavoidable due to the size of the defence deficit that this government inherited and the consequent scale of downsizing required in the Army.
“We will have smaller Armed Forces but they will in future be properly equipped and well-funded, unlike before. These redundancies will not affect current operations in Afghanistan, where our Armed Forces continue to fight so bravely on this country’s behalf.”
Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall added: “The Army is unfortunately reducing to 82,000 by 2020 and this tranche of redundancy is essential to achieving that. I fully recognise the unwelcome uncertainty and pressure for those who will be liable in the employment fields announced today.
“For some it may present an opportunity; for others it will curtail their service prematurely. Our aim now is to apply the process as fairly as possible and to prepare to support those individuals who are selected as they and their families transition to civilian life.”
Although the air force and navy are not affected by this round of cuts defence chiefs say it is likely further redundancies will apply to them, particularly medical and dental personnel.