British cuts will hit active-duty forces

April 2, 2011 at 1:37 PM

LONDON, April 2 (UPI) -- British servicemen now fighting in Libya and Afghanistan are among more than 2,000 who could be let go under budget cuts, military sources say.

The Daily Telegraph reported Friday commanders will tell personnel on active duty they could be among those laid off in September, in spite of government pledges to protect the front line.

On Monday, the army is expected to announce 561 layoffs to take effect Sept. 1, including 150 officers. The navy is expected to announce some 1,600 job losses effective Sept. 30, a third of them officers.

The army is expected to lose 7,000 personnel and the navy 5,000 over three years. Employees potentially at risk of layoffs must be informed well in advance.

The Telegraph said crews of two ships now off the Libyan coast, the frigate HMS Cumberland and the submarine HMS Turbulence, may be in line for cuts.

Army cutbacks are expected to hit all units: infantry, cavalry, artillery and logistics.

The Defense Ministry says servicemen in Afghanistan Sept. 1, when the cuts begin, would be shielded, but some who are in the country now and are scheduled to leave sooner will be affected.

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