SCRAPPING an army battalion will save the government £27.5 million a year, a minister has suggested.

Last year, the government decided to disband the Bury-based 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2RRF) and replace it with an army reserve plan, so soldiers would be available if needed.

On the request of a constituent, Bury North MP David Nuttall wrote to armed forces minister Mark Francois asking how much money the change will save.

In a written response, the minister said: “The annual cost of a regiment will depend on that regiment’s size, role and manpower mix and will comprise a combination of personnel, training, infrastructure and equipment.

“However, the average annual cost of a light infantry battalion is in the region of £27.5 million.”

Mr Nuttall, who opposes the decision to scrap the battalion, said that, while the government may save that amount, it will still have to fork out cash for the new system.

He said: “We still do not know how the army reserve plan will work out and how much it will cost, so it is hard to judge anything based on these figures.

“But it is always good to have as much information as possible, and the £27.5 million figure is useful.”

He added: “The decision itself is short-sighted. My concern is that there are currently threats practically anywhere you look around the world, whether it be Ukraine or Iraq or elsewhere.

“Will the new system be able to cope if things change in future?”