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Outrage at massive cutback in TA troops.

THE Government will today give details of massive cutbacks in the Territorial Army.

Defence Secretary George Robertson is set to confirm that Scotland's 7000 reservists will be cut by more than half.

Scots Secretary Donald Dewar has persuaded Mr Robertson to leave some TA units untouched but the announcement will be heavily criticised by the SNP.

They say the cuts will leave rural parts of Scotland exposed in times of crisis.

One of the main TA roles has been to help the emergency services during natural disasters such as flooding.

Sources close to Mr Dewar last night claimed the cuts would be less severe than expected.

An early draft of the MoD plan suggested Scotland lose 4000 of its 7000 TA reservists.

A Government source said: "We understand there has been a revision and a lot of that is down to lobbying which has been done by the Secretary of State."

The MoD are thought to have left a Scots engineer squadron untouched, which originally faced the axe.

The plans were thrust into the public spotlight earlier this month when a letter from Mr Dewar to Mr Robertson was leaked.

Mr Dewar stated he would find it "impossible to defend" some of the planned cutbacks.

And he also warned the TA could be needed to deal with potential civil unrest because of the Millennium Bug which may cause many computers to break down.

Mr Dewar told Mr Robertson the cuts would mean "TA ability to respond to a major civil incident will be severely affected".

Across Britain, the TA will lose 16,000 men and women, leaving 40,000 personnel.

Mr Robertson revealed the figures yesterday but will specify where the axe will fall in a Commons statement today.

Campaigners fear proud and historic units will lose their identities as a result of the changes.

But Mr Robertson claimed the changes will actually strengthen the TA.

He said: "We're going to reconfigure the Territorial Army, modernise it.

"We're going to give it better training, more relevant training - roles and duties which are to do with tomorrow's threats and not yesterday's threats.

"A big section of the TA is there and training for an impending Soviet invasion of the UK."
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Article Details
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Author:Deerin, Chris
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 16, 1998
Words:369
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