The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has issued a warning over defence cuts during his Christmas message to soldiers serving overseas.
He told the British Forces Broadcasting Service that the cuts needed to be done with "far, far greater sensitivity" or they could "risk the safety of the nation and the peace of the world".
The Archbishop of York has warned that severe defence cuts in Britain will "risk the safety of the nation and the peace of the world".
While delivering his Christmas message to armed forces serving overseas, Dr John Sentamu said Government plans to replace thousands of full-time soldiers with reservists was a bad idea as a "very well trained, professional service" needed to be maintained.
He told the British Forces Broadcasting Service, "My greatest anxiety ... is that these defence cuts need to be done with far, far greater sensitivity because we live still in a world that is very fragile and there are people out there still, wanting to do harm to ... many, many people".
"To replace professionally-trained, full-time serving soldiers with part-timers, I'm afraid, for me, I don't think that can be the backbone of the British Army," the Archbishop continued.
He also paid tribute to the British forces' role as peacekeepers in Afghanistan, calling them "the bravest of the brave", and said he prayed daily for them.
The Archbishop of York warned that defence cuts will compromise Britain's safety as he delivered his Christmas message overseas. In an interview with British Forces Broadcasting Service, Dr John Sentamu said:
"My greatest anxiety... is that these defence cuts need to be done with far, far greater sensitivity because we live still in a world that is very fragile and there are people out there still, wanting to do harm to ... many, many people.
He added: "To replace professionally trained, full time serving soldiers with part-timers, I'm afraid, for me, I don't think that can be the backbone of the British army."
Acting Permanent Under-Secretary Tom McKane said of the plans to cut up to a quarter of senior military and civilian posts in the Armed Forces: "All parts of defence are being restructured as we transform the way the Ministry of Defence does business, and head office is no exception.
"A smaller head office focused on strategic direction and policy, which hands more responsibility to the frontline commands, allows for a better-run organisation."
The defence secretary Philip Hammond has said he can't go ahead with sweeping cuts to the Armed Forces with also cutting senior positions. He said:
The Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Head Office is to become smaller after plans to cut up to 25% of senior civilian and military staff over the next two years, the defence secretary Philip Hammond has said.
A new senior structure will come into force from April 2013 with fewer senior positions. It is to save the MoD about £3.8m annually.
About 26 civilian and military jobs at Senior Civil Service level - which is equivalent to Commodore, Brigadier and Air Commodore or above - will disappear.
The new Head Office will concentrate more on strategy. In future, it will not get involved in day-to-day management. Frontline commands will be in charge of looking after their own finances.
Families of serving and fallen soldiers, along with ex-servicemen and women, held small-scale demonstrations today across the country against proposed Government cuts to the Army.
They explained their opposition to the plans to merge regiments:
Demonstrations are being held across the country today over the Government's plans to cut the size of the army.
In Manchester, families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan joined ex-servicemen and women in a protest at the city's cenotaph, as ITV Granada reported.
Ex-servicemen and families of soldiers also gathered in Leicester to pay their respect to the dead and protest the Government's plan to merge regiments, as ITV Central reported.
Similar vigils, which are being organised by a Facebook group, were being held in Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, Cardiff, Southampton and at the Cenotaph in central London.
Peace vigils are set to be held across the UK today in protest of planned defence cuts.
ITV Central reports on the silent demonstration in Leicester.
Speaking ahead of the planned peace vigils being held across the country in protest of the planned defence cuts, Minister of State for the Armed Forces Nick Harvey said the job losses were as a result of the Government inheriting a "very grave economic situation".