The revelation comes as the UK has announced plans to put together a European-led coalition separate from a similar US initiative to police the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz in a bid to “protect” commercial vessels against a purported Iranian threat.
The UK is facing an army enlistment crisis, with combat units operating 40 percent below strength, The Guardian reported, citing data released by the Defence Ministry under freedom of information laws.
The figures show that the number of troops in the British Army’s infantry regiments has reduced gradually over the past five years.
While publicly available data released quarterly by the ministry indicates a 7.6 percent deficit in personnel across the army on 1 January 2019, The Guardian says to have analysed the FOI figures for the same period that show that nine of the 16 infantry regiments were 20 percent or more below their “workforce requirement”. Four, meanwhile, were 25 percent or more below the planned number of soldiers needed.
According to the news outlet, the data for January 2019 reveals that there were more than 2,850 fewer soldiers in infantry regiments than there were five years ago. At the outset of 2015, there were 15,880 personnel serving in regimental duty, which is 6 percent lower than the target strength of 16,847. On the same date this year, there were 13,300 soldiers — 17 percent below the required 15,940.
“Army numbers are in freefall under this Conservative government. At a time when our…