John urges government to save local Army regiment

THE Government must end speculation that part of the Yorkshire Regiment is about to be scrapped and reassure soldiers and their families that jobs are safe, MP John Healey has said.

Rumours are rife that Ministers have decided to axe the 3rd Battalion (3 YORKS) but are delaying the announcement because it is politically unpopular.

Armed Forces Day is next week (30 June). Mr Healey will attend Rotherham’s celebration on Saturday (23 June).

Yorkshire Regiment recruits heavily in Rotherham and surrounding parts of South Yorkshire and getting rid of the battalion would mean 650 soldiers losing their jobs.

Mr Healey said: “This is a hammer blow to our communities and it is an unacceptable way to treat our brave service men and women.

“3 YORKS were deployed to Helmand in Afghanistan in April. Soldiers who are risking their lives and their families back home should not have to put up with uncertainty about their jobs.”

3 YORKS have served the country for 300 years, fighting in Waterloo, the Somme, Normandy and Iraq.

Mr Healey said: “The Defence Secretary must end speculation immediately and reassure local people that 3 YORKS soldiers will not be made redundant on their return from Afghanistan.”

Mr Healey has joined other local MPs in writing a joint letter to the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond criticising the cuts. The Government are cutting 20,000 Army soldiers’ jobs nationally.

The MPs said in the letter: “Yorkshire soldiers have served our country and the British Army with distinction for generations. Their service and sacrifice is renowned and respected throughout the country.

“I am sure you will understand the profound concern felt locally by our constituents that our brave service personnel and their families should have to endure the news from back home that they may be about to lose their jobs and see their historic unit axed at a time when they are risking their lives day-in-day-out in Afghanistan.”