FOREIGN soldiers are urgently being drafted-in to fight for Britain because thousands of regular troops are resigning, official figures show.
Droves of military personnel are handing-in their notices – largely due to low morale – meaning rules are being changed so hundreds of foreign fighters can sign-up to defend this country because there are not enough British nationals available.
Staggering new figures from the Ministry of Defence show 7,260 troops from the Army, RAF and Navy have applied to resign since April 2015.
It is believed service personnel are feeling the pinch after drastic cuts were introduced in 2010, prompting the UK National Defence Agency think-tank to warn: “We cannot afford to go on squeezing our armed forces till the pips squeak.”
It comes as Britain faces a severe terror threat from Islamic terrorist groups and as the MoD prepares for engagement in Libya, which could see as many as 1,000 troops join coalition allies in supporting local forces to vanquish IS fundamentalists.
Now, Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt has relaxed the rules imposed in 2013 banning Commonwealth soldiers signing-up unless they had lived in Britain for five years, and is allowing 200 Commonwealth citizens to fill roles in regular forces every year.
According to the Ministry of Defence’s latest Service Personnel Statistics, the UK can field a total number of 140,570 fully-trained troops across all branches — well short of the MoD’s declared minimum number of troops needed for each service, which is 146,950.
The so-called “liability gap”, which mainly affects the Army and the Royal Navy, stands at 6,380 – the size of an entire brigade.
Describing the 4.3 per cent shortfall, the document suggests that the forces are experiencing the effects of cuts imposed by the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010, which scythed 20,000 regular troops in the hope that they would be replaced by reservists.
However other MoD figures show that hundreds of fully-trained troops are quitting every month, not because of redundancies, but because they have simply had enough.
According to figures provided by Armed Forces minister Mark Lancaster, around 427 soldiers quit the Army every month between January 2015-16.
In the Army, the so-called “Voluntary Outflow” figure between April 2015-January 2016 is 3,950 troops, it stands at 1,380 in the Navy and 1,930 in the RAF.
In addition, MoD Minister Lord Howe confirmed that a massive 28 per cent of would-be soldiers – one in every four — quit before completing their training.
According to the MoD’s most recent Continuous Attitude Survey, 32 per cent of all Armed Forces Personnel — one in three –are dissatisfied with life in the services.
In the Army, 43 per cent of all soldiers admit morale is low.
Andy Smith, chief executive of the UK National Defence Agency said: “These figures must surely be a reflection above all of declining morale in all three Services which is linked to continual rounds of defence cuts and redundancies and the fact that a military career no longer offers the prospects that it did or the job security.
"As a nation we simply cannot afford to go on squeezing our armed forces till the pips squeak.