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Military bases to close through reservist reforms

Several military bases in the North East are to close as part of reforms to expand the Army Reserve, the Defence Secretary has announced.

Philip Hammond unveiled the changes as part of a package of reforms aimed at increasing the number of reservists in the Army under the Future Force 2020 reforms.

The plans envisage a trained army of 112,000, with 82,000 regulars, 30,000 reservists, and 8,000 further reservists in training.

The Defence Secretary said "a significant number" of small and under-recruited bases would be retained, which the Army believes could be viable with strong recruiting.

Some of the bases will not close outright but become home to other units, such as cadets.

An additional £1.8 billion will be invested over 10 years.

The army bases in the North East to close are:

  • Ashington TAC
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed
  • Bishop Auckland
  • Stockton Green TAC, Middlesbrough
  • Northallerton TAC
  • Washington TAC
  • Duncombe Barracks, York

"The number of Army Reserve bases will reduce from the current total of 334 to 308, a net reduction of 26 sites."

"We have decided to increase reservists' total remuneration in two ways: for the provision, for the first time, of a paid annual leave entitlement in respect of training days and through the accrual of pension entitlements under the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2015, for time spent on training as well as when mobilised."

– Philip Hammond, Defence Secretary

"While we champion reserve forces, we recognise the need to modernise.

"However, there are concerns that rather than synchronise the role of the army with that of the reserves, today's announcement appears belated and there will be concern the reserves uplift is not designed to complement our army but to supplement lost capacity."

– Jim Murphy, Shadow Defence Secretary

Full Report: Region's Army reserve bases to close as reforms announced

Seven military reserve bases are to close in our region, as part of reforms to the Army announced today.

The sites to close are at Ashington, Berwick upon Tweed, Bishop Auckland, Middlesbrough, Northallerton, Washington and Duncombe Barracks in York.

The Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond announced the changes, which are designed to boost the number of reservists, and scale back the number of full-time soldiers by 2020.

Watch the full report from Bob Constantine below.

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Full Report: Father and son reunited on Afghanistan tour

A Squadron from RAF Leeming is preparing for its latest deployment to Afghanistan, and for one family from the region it is a more unusual occasion than usual.

Three of the Townsend family work for the same Signals Unit at the North Yorkshire air base.

As Sarah Townsend waves goodbye to her son, she will be welcoming home her husband who is returning from his four month tour of duty.

Watch the full report from Claire Montgomery below.

Lunchtime Report: Father and son reunited in Afghanistan

A Squadron from RAF Leeming is preparing for its latest deployment to Afghanistan and for one family, the tour of duty is more of an emotional occasion than usual.

Three of the family work for the same Signals Unit at the North Yorkshire air base.

Mother Sarah Townsend is waving goodbye to her son Ben, but will be welcoming home her husband in the next few days.

You can watch the lunchtime report from Claire Montgomery below.

Soldier sure father "will show me all the ropes" in Afghanistan

Senior Aircraftman Ben Townsend is a communications technician. Along with his colleagues in 2 Squadron, 90 Signals Unit, they're in training for their tour in Afghanistan.

Ben will have extra advice at hand because his dad, Mark, is a Warrant Officer within the same Signals Unit and is already out in Afghanistan. Their paths will cross for a few days before his Dad heads home.

Ben's Squadron leaves next month and after his tour of duty, the Townsends will be reunited before Christmas.

Senior Aircraftman Ben Townsend is heading out to Afghanistan Credit: ITV News

"There is always a potential threat that something might happen, so if anything was to happen to us, then we always have to know that everyone is trained and your colleagues are at your back.

"It will be good. I am sure he will show me all the ropes when I am out there anyway but it will be nice to see him and catch up. Obviously we have only been in contact on the phone every now and then."

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Full Report: Thousands of Army jobs axed

It has been another tough day for our armed forces as nearly 4500 redundancy notices were handed out in the latest round of government cuts.

It is the third wave of redundancies under plans to cut the regular Army's strength by 20 percent and double the number of reservists by 2018.

The Government says the job losses are unavoidable owing to the size of the defence debt it inherited.

You can watch the full report from Claire Montgomery below.

Full Report: TA numbers to double as Army jobs are axed

With plans to double the number of soldiers in the Territorial Army, business leaders in the North East are considering the impact the move will have on industry and the economy.

Julia Barthram has been speaking to James Ramsbotham - the Chief Executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce - who also served 12 years in the Army and is now Honorary Colonel of the TA Rifles.

"We feel we have been harshly treated"

A former North Yorkshire Army major says he has been harshly treated by the government over Forces job cuts.

4,480 Army personnel are affected by the third round of redundancies announced today.

Chris Braithwaite, who served at Catterick Garrison, was made redundant in the second wave of cuts.

He says he has lost out on £200,000 because he was forced to leave just months before he completed 16 years' service.

  1. National

Latest round in job cuts as Govt aims to reduce Army

Today's announcement that 4,480 military personnel would be made redundant is the latest round in army job cuts.

  • Round 1: 920 military personnel lost their jobs with 28% of them compulsory.
  • Round 2: 2,880 military personnel were made redundant with 28% of them compulsory.
  • Round 3: 4,480 military personnel lost their jobs with 16% of them compulsory.

There will be four tranches of cuts as the Government aims to reduce the number of regular soldiers to 82,000 by 2018.

General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff, said the fourth round of army cuts would be less than the amount announced today.

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