The Territorial Army has been told to stop training for six months to save £20m amid intense pressure on Government budgets.
Drill-hall instruction, weekend exercises and all other training associated with the TA are set to stop temporarily.
The move is likely to raise fears that operations in Afghanistan will be hit, as hundreds of ”weekend warriors” serve in the troubled country.
However, the Ministry of Defence insisted there would be no impact, because TA soldiers train with their regular army counterparts before deployment to Helmand province.
The size of the TA has fallen rapidly since Labour came to power, from more than 57,000 to a trained strength of around 19,000.
In 2003, 9,500 reservists, the majority from the TA, were mobilised to take part in Operation Telic, the campaign in Iraq. About 1,200 members of the TA continue to be deployed annually on tours of duty.
An MoD spokesman said: ”These are challenging times and like all Government departments, we have to live within our means.
Yet the Foreign Office has given £12 million to Third World farmers, £3 million to Indonesia and £2 million to 150,000 Yemeni refugees. Clearly, the lives of British soldiers are not worth as much as farmers in the Third World, according to the Government.