Monmouth MP David Davies, who chairs the Commons' Welsh Affairs committee, has written to the Defence Secretary over the way the Welsh army has been affected by Army cuts. In particular he raises concerns about the decision to axe a battalion of the Royal Welsh.
In his letter, Mr Davies tells the Defence Secretary, Phillip Hammond that he and MPs on the committee want answers to the following concerns.
In evidence to the Committee on this issue, an independent defence expert told us that, based on proportionality, cost and recruitment considerations, it would be more advisable to cut several battalions of the Scottish regiments and the Gurkhas.
We heard that 98% of the Royal Welsh is drawn from within Wales, and in many families service to the regiment has continued for many generations.
We believe that the impact on families and communities across Wales, as well as on morale in the regiments more widely, will be enormous.
We are concerned that the decision to cut a Welsh battalion may be at least partly politically motivated. Scottish regiments have found it difficult to recruit in recent years, and the decision to maintain all five Scottish infantry regiments, albeit with one performing ceremonial duties, suggests preferential treatment. We seek assurances that this is not the case.
We are also concerned that the statement regarding the loss of 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh did not provide greater clarity for the serving men and women. We seek clarification on how many of them will be ‘absorbed’ into the 1st Battalion and how many will be made redundant. In a time of high unemployment, all possible assistance must be provided to enable former servicemen and women to seek employment after the armed forces. They currently face a great deal of uncertainty regarding their future.
2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh will be withdrawn from service and amalgamated with 1st the Royal Welsh by Autumn 2013.
Army regiments in Wales are set to learn if they will be affected by defence cuts being made across the UK.