By JR on Thursday, January 26, 2012
Public servants are a specially protected class just about everywhere
Not a single penpusher has been sacked under Ministry of Defence job cuts despite the 'grotesque' axing of hundreds of troops, a damning report reveals today.
MPs say it is 'stark and shocking' that no bureaucrats have been made compulsorily redundant yet 40 per cent of the military personnel culled were forced out.
In a scathing attack on the MoD, the Commons defence select committee hints that civil servants might also have received a better voluntary redundancy package.
'The MoD should consider whether the terms offered to either the military or civilian staff [were] fair or appropriate,' the MPs' report says.
The committee also criticises the claim by top MoD mandarin Ursula Brennan that civilians were more likely to apply for voluntary redundancy because they were more 'flexibly employable'. The report says: 'This runs contrary to our experience.'
Under the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review, unveiled in 2010, the Forces must lose 17,000 personnel by 2015 – 7,000 from the Army and 5,000 each from the RAF and Royal Navy.
The MoD will eventually lose around 32,000 civil service posts. Ministers have been ordered to make £4.7billion of savings within four years and to plug a £38billion equipment overspend.
Some 2,900 servicemen and women were selected for the first tranche of redundancies last year, with the Army and RAF each losing 920 posts, and 1,020 being cut from the Navy.
But only 60 per cent applied for redundancy, meaning around 1,200 members of the Forces were sacked. A second round of 4,200 cuts was announced last week.
By comparison, not one civil servant has been forced to quit the MoD in the first two redundancy rounds, set to total 15,000 penpushers. Instead, all volunteered to leave.
The report says: 'For military redundancies to be compulsory in 40 per cent of cases, yet for civilian redundancies to be compulsory in none, is so grotesque that it requires an exceptionally persuasive reason, which we are yet to hear.'
MPs say Forces personnel should be retrained in areas of the military where there are shortages, such as bomb disposal, logistics and healthcare.
Labour defence spokesman Jim Murphy said ministers were treading a 'thin line between callousness and carelessness' over the job cuts. 'Thousands of service personnel are being unceremoniously sacked,' he said. 'It is essential that the painful impact of David Cameron's decisions is minimised wherever possible.
'The committee are right to suggest retraining for all those made compulsorily redundant.'
The MPs' report – into the MoD's annual report 2010–11 – also expresses dismay that the National Audit Office spending watchdog had refused to give the seal of approval to the department's accounts for the fifth successive year.