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
- Bishop Auckland
- Stockton Green TAC, Middlesbrough
- Northallerton TAC
- Washington TAC
- Duncombe Barracks, York
– Philip Hammond, Defence Secretary
"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."
– Jim Murphy, Shadow 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."