17 Feb 2012

Uniformed personnel bearing brunt of Defence cuts

10:10 am on 17 February 2012

More than half of the jobs lost from the Defence Force in the past year were held by uniformed personnel.

Some 485 jobs have been disestablished as part of cost-saving measures.

Of the jobs lost, 295 were military personnel, while there have been no job losses at the civilian Ministry of Defence.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says the cuts were necessary and carefully considered.

The figures also show another 1200 military staff quit their jobs in the past year.

Mr Coleman says that is not indicative of a decline in morale in the military.

But the briefing to the Incoming Minister says cost-cutting has affected staff morale and led to retention issues.

Labour says the cuts will undermine the force's ability to deploy overseas.

But Mr Coleman says other defence forces around the world are carrying out the same sort of changes and Labour is misrepresenting the changes for political gain.