Defence Redundancy Programme to cut number of Yorkshire servicemen and women by more than 1000
In a House of Commons debate today, I pressed Defence Ministers to release information about the number of Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force personnel stationed in Yorkshire who have been made redundant since the general election in 2010, and the further number of service posts in the region which the government intends to cut before the next General Election in 2015.
I am concerned that the number of redundancies could be as many as 1300 personnel by 2015, and pressed the Minister for Defence personnel, Andrew Robathan MP, to publicise the Government’s own estimates of the number of job losses in Yorkshire and the Humber, in North Yorkshire and in York. My contribution to the debate can be read here.
With the United States becoming less committed to defence in Europe, instead turning its attention to China and the Asia-Pacific region, it is vital that the UK holds back its defence cuts until other European countries increase their defence spending to meet the NATO target of 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). At present, the UK is one of the leading NATO member states in defence spending, with only the United States, France, Greece and Albania spending above 2% of their GDP on defence.
This problem was highlighted in the recent campaign in Libya where many shortcomings were exposed in the defence capabilities of the 26 NATO member states in Europe. All 26 voted for action in Libya but less than half were able to contribute assets to the campaign. Within weeks the European countries had run out of guided missiles and from the start could only fly sorties with the help of US airborn reconnaissance and air-to-air refuelling.
Following the debate, the Minister answered one of the Parliamentary Questions that I tabled last week. The answer shows that the number of Service personnel has already been reduced by 7,760, but my further question seeking a regional breakdown has still not been answered. The Minister’s answer can be read here.