New figures have revealed that thousands of ex-Forces personnel made redundant in the defence spending cuts of the past four years have signed up to serve as reservists.
According to a parliamentary written answer, around 10,800 personnel have been made redundant since 2011. Of these, more than 700 have signed up for the Reserves, according to figures released by the Ministry of Defence. In 2013-2014, the proportion was even higher with almost one in ten of those let go signing on as reservists.
The cuts are part of a plan to reduce the size of the regular Army from 100,000 to 82,000 staff, although it’s hoped that the Reserves can help fill the gap by doubling its numbers from 15,000 to 30,000.
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: “It is gratifying to see that so many Regular personnel wish to continue to serve their country by bringing their valuable experience to the Reserve Forces.”
“Reservists are an integral part of the agile and flexible force we need to counter the wide range of threats we face, and we continue to see a strengthening trend in Reserve recruiting, with nearly 8,000 recruited in the past year.”
It has been widely reported that recruitment targets for the Reserves have fallen far shorter than hoped for however, and not everyone saw the new figures in a positive light.
Brendan O’Hara, the SNP's spokesman on defence, said: "These figures show once again that the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review contained precious little strategy and had very little to do with defence.”
"The fact that almost 1 in 14 of those made redundant then re-joined the reserves just shows how once again the government has got it so badly wrong on defence."