Half of UK forces personnel report low morale
23 August 2012
Half of all British armed forces personnel have complained of low morale, a Ministry of Defence survey has shown, leading to warnings that government cuts have left morale in 'freefall'.
Exactly 50 per cent of the more than 12,000 personnel questioned for the MoD's annual Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS) reported low morale in 2012. The figure is up from 33 per cent in 2010, when figures had been improving in the wake of a high of 54 per cent in 2008.
Data from the AFCAS shows that the number of people across the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force reporting high morale has fallen too, standing at 15 per cent, down from 25 per cent in 2010. Again, 2008's survey showed that just 12 per cent of personnel across all three services felt morale was high.
Morale among Royal Marines remained consistently higher than all other branches of service, but just 22 per cent reported high morale in 2012, compared to 35 per cent in 2010. Some 41 per cent of the marines surveyed reported low morale.
Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy said the figures were "a real worry and a terrible reflection of this government's defence policy".
"A vital benchmark of success is our forces' morale and yet it has been damaged and dented by David Cameron and Philip Hammond," he said.
"A botched review and cuts to vital support have made our forces feel under-valued and over-stretched. Cutting the army by 20,000 while we have so many of our forces serving in Afghanistan is a real blow.
"Tough decisions are necessary but they must be taken with respect not recklessness. The whole country will expect David Cameron to sit up, listen and change course in response to this worrying trend."
In response to the figures, defence minister Peter Luff said that he was confident that morale would recover in coming years.
"While morale on operations remains high, we have had to make tough decisions to get the defence budget back into balance, including reducing the size of our armed forces," said Luff.
"Any change like this is bound to create uncertainty, but the resilience of our personnel should not be underestimated.
"We are nearing the end of a very difficult period in defence and hope to see morale slowly recovering over the next couple of years. Our armed forces remain focused on doing their job, whether it is in Afghanistan or at home in the UK for the Olympics."
HAVE YOUR SAY
23 August 2012
"Defence minister says figures will recover in coming years as'difficult period' comes to an end"
You wish. With 30 years of ABC/Planning Round reductions (and Treasury calling for more in its "nuclear" public spending option after this week's dire borrowing figures) It has been "difficult" since at least 1991, perhaps 1981.
It's not like we're taking the lead in any wars (save Falklands, Kosovo/Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Libya) though, is it? Morale doesn't matter when reducing the deficit is the #1 priority - oops, the deficit has widened! Who woulda thunk it?
AlMiles - Bristol, UK
24 August 2012
Everyone else has better gun, Every serviceman grumbles. All us oldies recall how it was so much harder when we were in....
Nothing changes, except everything and every comment gets put under a spotlight in 2012, just in case any "News can be made from it".
Degradable - UK
24 August 2012
And the government's answer to our dire borrowing figures? Buying more kit "off the shelf" from abroad, rather than making it ourselves and exporting it like we used to do in the days when we believed in ourselves.
If in the end we have soldiers fighting with foreign kit, fighting wars for the foreign policy objectives of other powers, and dying to protect the interests of foreign companies at home (because we have no indigenous industry left), soldiers, sailors and fliers will justifiably ask "who and what am I fighting for?"
In 100 years, where will we be? 100 years ago, what were we then? What makes for decline - and why are our inexperienced politicians doing nothing about it?
Michael - Hertfordshire
14 September 2012
The response to the low morale is that the beancounters who run this country couldn't care less about our brave fighting men and women.
If the truth be told, most of the rest of the nation dont give a toss either, but they do expect the people to be in place when push comes to a shove, little do they know or care on a day to day basis that those people now dont exist.