Redundancies confirmed at Wittering and Cottesmore RAF bases

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A TOTAL of 18 jobs are being axed at RAF Wittering and RAF Cottesmore in the first round of Government cuts.

There will be 13 redundancies at RAF Wittering and five redundancies at RAF Cottesmore. There are seven voluntary redundancies out of the 18.

The job losses come as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Redundancy Programme, which aims to shed 22,000 jobs across the RAF, Army and Royal Navy over the next four years - more than half through redundancies.

The first round of redundancies were announced by the Government last week, with some 920 personnel in the Army and 930 in the RAF affected.

RAF Cottesmore, which is due to close in March next year, became a satellite of RAF Wittering in April.

The figures affecting RAF Wittering and RAF Cottesmore were revealed by base spokesman Tony Walsh.

He said affected staff found out about their future in interviews with their respective wing commanders.

The job losses varied from the rank of corporal to flight lieutenant and came from a number of branches of the air force.

But Sqn Ldr (ret’d) Walsh stressed the base’s key functions would be unaffected by the redundancies.

He added: “It won’t affect any operational output.

“If the job needs to be filled it will be filled.”

Those taking voluntary redundancy will serve up to six months’ notice before leaving the armed forces.

Compulsory redundancies will serve up to 12 months’ notice, although anyone wanting to leave earlier can.

The Ministry of Defence said personnel returning to civilian life through redundancy would receive full support from their chain of command and a “comprehensive resettlement package” to make the transition.

The job losses at the two stations come out of a total of about 650 personnel at RAF Cottesmore and about 1,200 staff at RAF Wittering.

The Ministry of Defence has refused to break down redundancies to individual bases so it is not known if any posts are being lost at St George’s Barracks in North Luffennham.

A spokesman said: “The decisions are not easy but they will help to defend the UK so that we are best prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

The Royal Navy will notify their first round of redundancy selections on September 30.

Up to three more rounds of redundancies will follow.

RAF Cottesmore will become an Army base for troops returning from Germany in 2013. St George’s Barracks is also due to get extra Army units in 2014.