December 16, 2009 2:00 am

Civilians to pay price for job losses

Civilians working to support the armed forces are set to bear the brunt of a plan to slash staffing costs at the Ministry of Defence, writes Alex Barker .

More than 7,500 job losses are expected over the next three years in a department that has already cut its workforce by about 45,000 since 1997.

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The final details of staff cuts will be unveiled in the Strategic Defence Review, which will be informed by a review of the workforce led by Gerry Grimstone, the chairman of Standard Life and Candover, who advised the Thatcher government on privatisation.

This review will examine the distribution of tasks between civilian and military personnel. "This is not just about doing more with less," said Bob Ainsworth, defence secretary. "We will also need to make hard decisions about what we can stop doing and how we can bear down on other costs."

Separately, all the services will be reviewing their staffing to find ways to cut thousands of jobs, including slowing recruitment. While the details are still to be finalised, Mr Ainsworth said the "emphasis will be on prioritising our manpower for operations in Afghanistan".

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