FORCES: Find savings from civilians

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The Ministry of Defence is proposing to cut 2,000 Royal Marines and scrap the Royal Navy’s two amphibious landing craft.

Unsurprisingly, a spokesman from the armed forces said it was a short-sighted and silly way to save money; a Government spokesman spoke of necessary efficiency savings.

Cynical me thinks it might be a ploy from the Defence Secretary to shame the Prime Minister into giving him more cash from that magic money tree she seems to keep handy for whenever her job is threatened.

If the Government and civil servants need “efficiency savings”, why don’t they look at themselves first?

There are 150,000 or so staff in the armed forces, and almost 60,000 civilians employed by the MoD. That equates to two ‘pen-pushers’ for every five people serving in the Army, Navy and Air Force. What on earth do they do?

It looks even worse when you compare the numbers of those in charge. There are six serving chiefs of staff responsible for entire armed forces; a ratio of one to 30,000. The MoD has 16 ministers and other board members, a ratio of one to 6,000. Which would you say was the most efficient?

This year marks the centenary of the end of the First World War; the first mechanised war and the war to end all wars. Nobody wants there to be a future world conflict of any kind, but we can be assured that at least it will an efficient one.

Mel Shaw,