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Cuts to British army may leave it unable to handle threats: Lawmakers

Published on Mar 6, 2014 9:23 AM

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - Cuts to Britain's army, driven by the need to save money, risk leaving the country unable to respond adequately to future threats, a committee of lawmakers said on Thursday.

Last month Britain announced the final part of a plan to help the country tackle its large public debts by shrinking its armed forces by around a sixth. The army will be left with 82,000 soldiers in 2018, down from 102,000 in 2010.

The scale of the cuts has fuelled a debate about Britain's diplomatic and military role in the world and its ability to project force globally. They come as it prepares to withdraw the last of its troops from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

"There is no question that UK armed forces will deploy on an expeditionary operation in the future," said Mr James Arbuthnot, chair of the Defence Committee, which includes lawmakers from both the governing Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, as well as the opposition Labour party.

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