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A CUT TOO FAR; Veterans hit out as thousands of soldiers face losing their jobs.

Byline: MIKE MORGAN mike.morgan@eveninggazette.co.uk

GOVERNMENT plans to slash 5,300 personnel from the British Army by June are a "cut too far", say worried individuals and groups on Teesside.

And personnel from our region serving in Afghanistan this year could face losing their jobs in a further round of redundancies planned for 2014.

Jeff Carroll, 54, of Guisborough's Buckshees military shop, spent 13 years in the regular Army in tanks in the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars, serving in Oman, Germany and Cyprus.

He says the huge cuts will make the Army "worryingly overstretched."

And those losing their jobs will struggle to find employment on Teesside, he fears.

Jeff and brothers Mark, 49, and Johnny, 42, who run military shops in Guisborough, Washington and Middlesbrough, have raised about PS30,000 to support the national charity Help for Heroes.

Jeff said: "This is a cut too far and means our forces will be overstretched in Afghanistan - and worse if other areas of conflict crop up.

"We're losing The Green Howards in our region already.

"Many of these people will get good redundancy packages - but there's not the jobs for them on Teesside."

Eric Howden, chairman of Cleveland and Yorkshire Moors Group of the British Legion, says between 160 and 300 redundant personnel are expected on Teesside.

He too worries about the cuts and lack of jobs.

But a task force of British Legion and other groups, including cadets, firms and the NHS, is preparing to tackle the crisis.

Housing, jobs and medical help will be needed, says Eric.

This third instalment of redundancies from the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review will be the biggest by far and confined to the Army.

The Ministry of Defence said anyone exempt from compulsory redundancy this year won't be protected from a further tranche of job losses next year, which will also affect medics and dentists in the Royal Navy and RAF.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond claims smaller armed forces will be "properly equipped and well funded" in an Army of 82,000.

" Our forces will be overstretched in Afghanistan - and worse if other areas of conflict crop up - Jeff Carroll, left, who spent 13 years in the Army and now runs a military shop in Guisborough "

CAPTION(S):

WORRY: The British Legion's Eric Howden, pictured here at Eston war memorial, says between 160 and 300 redundant personnel are expected on Teesside as the Army seeks to cut 5,300 from its ranks by June Picture by IAN MCINTYRE
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:Jan 24, 2013
Words:420
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