Hammond dismisses Army cuts criticism as 'nonsense'

The Defence Secretary has dismissed much of the criticism levelled against the Government on Army cuts as "nonsense". It follows comments made by General Sir Richard Shirreff that restructuring the Army is "one hell of a risk".

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MoD hits back at top general's comments on Army cuts

The Ministry of Defence has hit back after one of Britain's most senior generals warned Government cuts will damage the Army in the long term.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said:

The UK maintains some of the very finest and best equipped armed forces, underpinned by the world's fourth largest defence budget.

With a restructured, more flexible and agile Army and with £160 billion planned on new equipment over the next decade we will ensure our armed forces retain their formidable range.

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Hammond dismisses Army cuts criticism as 'nonsense'

The Defence Secretary has dismissed much of the criticism levelled against the Government on Army cuts as "nonsense".

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Philip Hammond said: "We still have the fourth largest defence budget in the world.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond on The Andrew Marr Show.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond on The Andrew Marr Show. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

"I was in the Pentagon just this week past, I heard my US counterpart talk about Britain as a credible, capable and reliable ally and that's what we intend to remain.

"Of course we've had to make savings, of course we've had to make some very tough decisions, ... but we're looking to the future not the past."

Mr Hammond's comments followed General Sir Richard Shirreff's comments that the restructuring of the Army is "one hell of a risk" that will weaken the armed forces around the world.

Top general warns Army cuts are 'one hell of a risk'

Restructuring the Army is "one hell of a risk" that will weaken the armed forces, one of Britain's most senior generals has warned.

The Government is cutting the regular Army from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while the newly-renamed Army Reserve - formerly the Territorial Army - is being expanded from 19,000 to 30,000.

General Officer Commanding, Major General Richard Shirreff pictured during a Remembrance Day Service in 2006. Credit: PA

In an interview with the Sunday Times (£), General Sir Richard Shirreff said: "The sort of defence cuts we have seen... have really hollowed out the British armed forces and I think that people need to sit up and recognise that."

“I wouldn’t want to let anybody think that I think that Army 2020 is good news, it’s not.”

Read: Hammond dismisses Army cuts criticism as 'nonsense'