Ex-servicemen: Army cuts will 'devastate morale'

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:

The Government is planning to cut 30,000 troops by 2020 and, being an ex-serviceman myself, I feel it is unnecessary as currently there are more people leaving than joining up, so if we take into account natural wastage we would get the same result without disbanding regiments.

We know there are wars in Afghanistan and problems in Iraq and Syria and we never know when we are going to be called to a conflict.

– Stephen Martin, 57, who served in the Royal Artillery Corps

These cuts will have a devastating effect on the morale of the troops. Not just the cuts but the way the troops are being treated. They are being treated as a stop-gap measure for this Government, for anything they got wrong.

Plus, you've got civilian people being brought in, for instance for the Olympic Games, being given tremendous bonuses and extra pay and there's the poor troops being brought in and put down on cots in warehouses and still expected to do the same job.

– Neil McKinnon, who was a corporal from 1964 to 1976

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Vigils in protest of defence cuts

Peace vigils are to be held across the UK today in protest of planned defence cuts. Earlier this month Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced major defence restructuring plans that will see the Army lose 17 units.