MoD pays out £75m to redundant civil servants

The Ministry of Defence has paid £75m to civil servants made redundant over the past three months as part of the government's programme of cuts.

The 2,500 staff received payoffs averaging £30,000, according to MoD figures.

Details of the payoffs were released after a second wave of armed forces redundancies were announced this week. A spokesman for the MoD said the job losses were necessary to help tackle the "black hole" in the country's defence budget.

He said civilian staff had received "considerably less" on average than military personnel, who are also losing thousands of posts as a result of the cuts programme.

"Where a sergeant receives an average payoff of around £65,000, a civilian receives around £30,000 on average," the spokesman said. "The MoD civilian workforce is reducing by around 33% compared to a reduction of 17.5% in military manpower."

Shadow defence secretary, Jim Murphy, criticised the pay-outs in the wake of the government's announcement of fresh cuts.

"David Cameron is culling the army in their thousands while spending millions on civil service payoffs," he said.

"He needs to get his priorities straight. People worried about the impact of the cuts on families and the front line will be angry at this news."

The MoD announced on Tuesday that it was looking to shed 2,900 posts from the army, around 1,000 from the RAF and 300 from the Royal Navy. The defence secretary, Philip Hammond, justified the decision by insisting he had "no choice" because of the appalling state of military finances.

The army and RAF were worst hit, with the Gurkhas bearing the brunt of losses. But Hammond said the new cuts would not affect troops fighting in Afghanistan.

Under the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the RAF and Navy has to cut 5,000 posts each by 2015. The army has to shrink by 20,000 within eight years.