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Army chiefs are spending more than £5million on socks to keep soldiers’ feet warm.
It comes just weeks after we revealed the forces face a £100million compensation bill for “cold feet” injuries.
Ministry of Defence bosses have issued a tender for companies to make millions of pairs of socks for squaddies from 2022 to 2026.
But one Army chief hit out on the spending after the news that the service is facing its deepest cuts in more than 300 years.
The Army will shrink to 72,500 soldiers – the lowest number since 1714.
Some 10,000 troops are to be axed under plans to replace them with robots.
Meanwhile 800 armoured vehicles, 60 jets, 80 tanks, 50 helicopters and 15 warships will be taken out of service.
The source said: “This is outrageous spending at a time when the Army needs to be focusing on more important things than socks.”
Last month, we told how one defence boss told troops to wear “thicker socks” after news of the huge compensation bill for injuries caused by troops having cold feet.
Almost 2,000 military personnel have sued the MoD in the last eight years after developing “trench foot”.
Officially called Non-Freezing Cold Injuries, the condition causes acute, chronic pain.
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Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show around £60m has been awarded to serving and former soldiers.
The MoD also paid out more than £40m in legal costs for cases between 2012 and 2019 – the latest period for which there are figures.
In response, desperate Army chiefs told troops to rethink their footwear in a bid to avoid future claims.
A senior defence chief said: “It would seem that the solution to this very costly problem is for troops that suffer from cold feet to wear thicker socks.”
They added: “I don’t want to sound flippant but these types of injuries are clearly preventable.
“The obvious solution would be to keep feet warm, and the best way to do that would be by wearing thicker socks.”
One soldier received more than £800,000 after suing the military for negligence after he got trench foot.
The condition first became widely known during World War One, when soldiers got it while fighting in cold, wet conditions in trenches without extra socks or boots to help keep their feet dry.
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