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Fox Says British Army Troop Numbers Will Be Cut by 17,000

Defense Secretary Liam Fox said he will lower troop numbers in the British army by 17,000.

Fox will seek to cut an extra 10,000 army personnel beyond the 7,000 reduction planned in October’s defense review, the Ministry of Defense said. The cuts involve bringing home troops stationed in Germany and will allow Fox to use the money saved to fund the procurement of equipment.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government blames the previous Labour administration for creating a 38 billion-pound ($61 billion) shortfall in the defense budget. Defense spending is being cut, even though the U.K. is engaged in two separate conflicts, as the government seeks to balance the public finances.

“Commitments must match resources in order to achieve a balanced budget,” Fox told Parliament in London today. The army will make greater use of reservists to bolster permanent troop levels, he said.

Jim Murphy, who speaks on defense matters for the opposition Labour Party, said the army had been “slashed.”

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