Army makes 4,480 soldiers redundant

Third, and largest, round of cuts made to size of army in attempt to reduce personnel numbers to 82,000 by 2018

In the biggest single cut to the size of the army, 4,480 soldiers have been handed redundancy notices as the force aims to reduce personnel numbers to 82,000 by 2018, from more than 100,000 three years ago.

In the third of what officials described as across-the-board salami slices, the Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday that 84% of those affected had applied for redundancy.

No personnel preparing for, serving on, or recovering from deployments lost their jobs unless they applied for redundancy.

Personnel recovering from serious injuries sustained on operations were also exempt from the cuts. However, officials say staff in these categories could be made redundant in the final round of cuts next year.

Those who applied for voluntary redundancy will leave on or before 17 December, and those who did not will leave on or before 17 June 2014.

There will be no new reductions in the army as a result of the latest spending review, due to be announced by the chancellor next Wednesday. The defence secretary, Philip Hammond, has already negotiated a 1% increase in the defence equipment programme, …read more  

UK urged to accept responsibility for 1948 Batang Kali massacre in Malaya

Petition calls for apology, memorial and ‘modest reparations’ to families of 24 rubber plantation workers killed by British troops

A petition will be delivered to the government on Tuesday demanding an “honourable acceptance of responsibility” for the massacre of 24 unarmed rubber plantation workers by British troops during the anti-communist insurgency in Malaya in 1948.

The petition, signed by 10,000 people, will be handed to the British high commissioner in Malaysia, Simon Featherstone. It will demand an apology and a memorial to those killed at Batang Kali and ask for “modest reparations”.

The case has been compared to that of elderly Kenyans who have been offered nearly £20m in costs and compensation after being tortured and abused during the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s.

High court judges last year questioned the official record given to parliament – that the Malaysians were shot when trying to escape in 1948. Allegations that there was a “deliberate execution of the men and it was ‘covered up’ by the Scots Guards and British army” could “properly be made on the evidence,” the judges said.

However, they argued that there were “obviously enormous difficulties in conducting an inquiry into a matter that happened over 63 years ago”.

John …read more