The number of regular soldiers in Britain’s army has fallen below 80,000, the lowest it has been for over 200 years, the latest manning figures show. The Army was slashed by the government from 102,000 to a target of 82,000 during the 2010 defence review – reducing it to the smallest British force since the Napoleonic Wars –

driven by the austerity budget introduced by the coalition government. Reservists were expected to make up the shortfall, increasing from 19,000 to 30,000. But the latest personnel figures from the Ministry of Defence show that the army only had 79,590 trained regular soldiers in July, while the RAF and Navy also both fell hundreds short. READ MORE