Updated: Tuesday, 2nd June 2020 @ 1:57pm

TA budget cut threats would have left soldiers out in the cold

TA budget cut threats would have left soldiers out in the cold

by staff reporter

TERRITORIAL Army units across the North West would have been forced into "a state of hibernation" if proposed £20m cuts went ahead.

However the region’s 3,600 soldiers and officers were relieved when Prime Minister Gordon Brown intervened to stop the cash-strapped MoD from slashing £20m from its budget.

An army spokesperson for the North West said: “Paid training would have been put on hold until April 1 2010, effectively putting TA units into a state of hibernation.”

For many reservists the TA is an important second source of income and the prospect of losing it for six months during the UK’s longest recession and with Christmas approaching caused worry to spread among them.

The MoD proposed the cuts in order to concentrate resources on operations in Afghanistan.

However the backtrack on the cuts will not mean deployed soldiers will lose out.

The spokesperson said the £20m funding gap will be plugged by the Treasury.

The PM intervened to reverse the proposed cuts following representations by former defence secretary John Reid and Labour backbencher Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley.

The U-turn came was announced before an opposition-led Commons debate on Wednesday that threatened to see a backbench revolt similar to the government’s defeat over the rights of former Gurkhas to remain in Britain.

The cuts would not have affected any TA soldier either in training or on operations in Afghanistan.

The spokesman said the TA was an integral part of the Army and needs to make sure its personnel receive the necessary training because they are likely to find themselves in Afghanistan sometime in the future.

He added: “The days are gone when people thought the TA was a just a commitment that you come to once a week.

“Part and parcel of what we do is to support the army in Afghanistan.”

The North-West, which consists of 40 TA training centres, has deployed 1,500 soldiers and officers to the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 4th Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, which has a unit based in Ardwick, Manchester, has contributed the majority of deployed troops.