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Minister: Army units will face axe

Entire infantry and armoured units will face the axe as a result of the Government's programme of cuts to the armed forces, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has warned.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph he said the planned scale of reductions could not be achieved without the loss of some units.

Under the plans set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Army is to be reduced from 102,000 soldiers to 82,000.

The Telegraph reported that units with large numbers of soldiers recruited from the Commonwealth would be particularly vulnerable.

Currently around one in 10 infantry soldiers comes from outside the UK, although some units have significantly larger foreign contingents than others.

"The Army is getting smaller," Mr Hammond said.

"Clearly the Army can't get smaller by 17% without losing some units.

"I can't say to you that there will be no loss of battalions in the infantry as we downsize the Army.

"We are looking at the options in the Army and the armoured corps."