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Paras hope to miss the cost-cutting axe
ARMY regiments based in Colchester are expected to be spared the axe under Government plans.
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond confirmed last week the structure of the Army will be drastically changed as the Government reduces the number of serving soldiers from 100,000 to 82,000 by 2020.
Up to 50 UK regiments are expected to be merged or disbanded under the plans.
It is thought 2 and 3 battalions of the Parachute Regiment, which is based in Colchester, as well as the Royal Anglian Regiment, which recruits from the town, will remain in their existing structure.
Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of 1st Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment, said the news would be welcomed not only by the troops, but by the people of Colchester.
He said: “I think it’s very likely the Parachute Regiment will stay as it is now, with the three battalions and a reserve battalion.
“I don’t think a final decision has been made yet, but everything I have heard confirms they will stay the same.
“There are a number of factors they have taken into account, including manning levels.
“I think the Parachute Regiment is a well-manned regiment. It has been able to sustain numbers where some regiments have found it very difficult to recruit for a number of years.
“They have also proven themselves over many years to be an extremely effective regiment in the Army.
“The Royal Anglians is also an extremely operational regiment. I also think they will remain untouched.”
Last September, the Army made 920 redundancies, although it has never confirmed how many of those were from the Parachute Regiment.
More redundancies hit the Armed Forces last week, with 2,900 cut from the Army under Lieutenant General Nick Carter’s plans. Col Kemp said: “I believe more people applied for redundancy than are being given it. I don’t think there will be that many being made compulsorily.”
Mr Hammond said last week he was unable to announce details of which UK regiments would be affected, as they were yet to be finalised.
While an official announcement over their futures has yet to be fixed, details are expected to be revealed in the coming months.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The Army is currently considering re-design options as the Army reduces to 82,000.
“No decisions have been taken.”