Poor treatment of UK troops affecting morale, war effort: Army head

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London, Feb.28 (ANI): Britain's Chief of General Staff (CGS) General Sir David Richards has warned the establishment that defence budget cuts are having a "cumulative and corrosive effect" on soldiers and their families.

In a confidential draft memo prepared for ministers, General Richards has claimed that soldiers are being treated very poorly after their return to Britain from tours abroad that it is threatening to undermine the war effort in Afghanistan.

Marked "restricted", the memo reports a summary of an internal "poll" of 5,000 soldiers and their families at units in Britain, Germany and Cyprus over the past four months, The Sunday Times reports.

"My greatest concern ... is the deteriorating experience of soldiers and their families ... between tours which, the [survey] team reports, is disaffecting attitudes, damaging morale and risks undermining our ability to sustain the campaign ..." General Richards says.

"We need our soldiers to be ready, mentally and physically, to endure repeated tours in Afghanistan, in a harsh environment, with the real prospect of significant casualties each time. To maintain the necessary morale and cohesion, they must see tangible signs between tours that they and their families are valued," he adds.

In July last year the army was told to make cuts of 43 million pounds in order to help the Ministry of Defence meet its budget targets.

"As CGS, I register an early concern about the impact on morale, the potentially severe downstream impact on retention and our ability to sustain the campaign in the longer term," General Richards concludes. (ANI)

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