Government defends plans to cut 10,000 British Army personnel

The Government has defended plans to cut 10,000 personnel from the British Army – despite calls to rethink its plans to shake up the military following the war in Ukraine.

Defence Minister Leo Docherty also did not directly respond to proposals to increase the Defence budget from 2.2% of GDP to 3%.

Facing an urgent question in the Commons, the Veterans Minister did not directly respond to a call for another significant increase to the UK's defence budget.

The Government set out plans last year to reduce the size of the regular Army, lowering the target size from 82,000 personnel to 72,500 by 2025. When the announcement was made in March 2021, the Army had about 76,500 regular soldiers.

The defence minister did reiterate the UK's commitment to Ukraine and NATO as he listed support for Ukraine in the war so far.

As of 20 June 2022, Britain's support for Ukraine is as follows:

  • More than 6,900 Anti Tank Missiles
  • Five air defence systems, including StarStreak
  • 120 armoured fighting vehicles and a small number of Storm vehicles
  • 1,360 anti-structure munition
  • Plastic explosives
  • 400,000 rounds of small arms 

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey, responding to a written parliament question, confirmed the amount of monetary military aid that has been committed to Ukraine's armed forces as of 15 June 2022. 

"I can confirm that £750m of the £1.3bn has been committed to the Ukrainian armed forces as of 15 June 2022. This £750m includes the provision of both lethal and non-lethal aid," he said.

The former Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said he was "not comfortable" with cuts to troops numbers, in an interview before he left the post.

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