Internal restructuring
United Kingdom
Location of affected unit(s)
Public Administration And Defence
Public Administration And Defence; Compulsory Social Security
Provision Of Services To The Community As A Whole
84.22 - Defence activities

18,413 jobs
Number of planned job losses
Job loss
Announcement Date
21 July 2004
Employment effect (start)
Foreseen end date
1 July 2008


Almost 20,000 military and civilian posts are to be cut in the biggest shake-up of the armed services for a generation, the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, announced in July 2004. The RAF will bear the brunt of the cuts, losing around 7,500 jobs, with the navy facing cuts of up to 1,500 serving personnel. The army will lose the equivalent of four infantry battalions - three from England and one from Scotland. The numbers of aircraft, tanks and ships will also be reduced. Mr Hoon also announced the loss of 10,000 civilian support staff, and told the House of Commons that the changes would be completed by 2008.

In March 2005 an announcement was made that one of the UK's most well-known RAF bases is to lose 300 aircraft support staff. The job losses at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire are part of nationwide cuts of 7,500 personnel across the service.

Brize Norton, one of the RAF's principal bases, was heavily used in the Iraq war and the Kosovo conflict. The cuts were first announced by Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon in July 2004.


  • 10 March 2005: BBC News
  • 21 July 2004: The Guardian


Eurofound (2004), Armed Forces, Internal restructuring in United Kingdom, factsheet number 61269, European Restructuring Monitor. Dublin, https://restructuringeventsprod.azurewebsites.net/restructuring-events/detail/61269.