Cut the Top Brass – not the Ordinary Ranks

Local MP David Mowat demanded that army manpower cuts are spread fairly across all ranks. He pointed out that since 1990, the army has been reduced by about 40%, but officer numbers are down by less than 30%.

"Indeed, there are more colonels now than there were then," he said.

At a recent Defence Questions, he asked defence minister Andrew Robathan: "Is there more that we can do to ensure that the cuts are proportionate?"

Mr Robathan replied: "We are committed to reducing—and, indeed, are reducing— the star count in the ministry of defence by 25%, which means those with the rank of brigadier and above.

"It is true that the number of colonels is higher than in 1990, but it has fallen by 80 since 1 April 2010, and some of the jobs that those officers do are specific to NATO or to defence engagements. For instance, some are defence attachés.

"We need all those jobs, and that is why we employ those people. However, my hon. Friend has raised a very good point."

Mr Mowat has previously pressed ministers on army accommodation, family benefits and pub bans on soldiers returning from Afghanistan, earning the title of "the squaddies' champion" on some internal Army chatrooms.


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