Small firms fear effects of rise in army reservists

 
Suzie Neuwirth
PLANS to reduce troop numbers in the armed forces and replace them with reservists remains a concern for small firms, the Federation of Small Businesses has warned.

As part of its defence budget cuts, the government intends to slash 30,000 armed forces personnel by 2020 and hire reservists instead. But industry body the FSB fears that smaller businesses employing the part-time soldiers may struggle to cope when they are on deployment.

“Despite better engagement from government with the business community, many small firms who employ reservists remain concerned about how their increased use will impact on their businesses,” said Mike Cherry, the FSB’s national policy chairman.

“The Ministry of Defence needs to continue their engagement with all of the business community to understand and address their concerns and put the right support in place. Failure to do so will undoubtedly impact on our armed forces ability to meet their future commitments.”

Senior defence figures have warned that the cuts will leave the UK with a “hollowed-out” military.