THE Army will lose 10,000 troops and may be smaller than Germany’s land forces under Treasury budget cut plans.
Defence chiefs are proposing a recruitment freeze in response to a funding crisis.
They will also close bases, cut orders of fighter jets and halt investment in kit as the pain is shared across all three services, a top defence source said.
The Army currently has 74,000 troops — 8,000 short of its target.
And that will plunge to the low 60,000s if recruitment halts. Around 10,000 leave each year.
Germany has 62,000 soldiers, Spain 70,000 and France 115,000.
The plans are a response to the uncertainty over the MoD’s long-term budget as a result of the pandemic.
The defence source said: “A lot of painful decisions would have to be made that effect the whole Armed Forces. That would include a recruitment freeze.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak rowed back on a Treasury pledge to give the MoD a three-year settlement. He said it would get a one-year deal instead.
The source added: “If we can’t get a multi-year, we need a meaningful in-year settlement but £1.9billion for one year is less than half of what we need.”
Commons defence committee chair Tobias Ellwood warned Britain “won’t be taken seriously”. Retired Major General Tim Cross said it risked losing the ability to do “serious war fighting”.
An MoD spokesperson said: “This Government has committed to grow defence spending.”
A defence, security and foreign policy review update would be provided “in due course”.
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