Ministry of Defence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:40 pm on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough 4:40 pm, 26th February 2018

That is a very good point and that was a worrying incident.

On recruitment and numbers, the Public Accounts CommitteeArmy 2020” report notes that

the Army’s recruiting partner, Capita, missed its regular soldier recruitment target by 30% in 2013-14 and it recruited only around 2,000 reserves against a target of 6,000. A huge step-up in performance is required if the Army is to hit its ambitious target of recruiting 9,270 new reserves in 2016-17. The size of the regular Army is reducing faster than originally planned but the size of the trained Army reserve has not increased in the last two years because more people have left the reserve than joined.”

We have shifted from an emphasis on the regular Army to one that includes a very strong Army reserve. All the same, we still need a regular Army, but we are not meeting targets for that either. Our force strength numbers are not up to scratch. In April 2016, we were short by 5,750 personnel. A year later, that had increased to over 6,000. By August 2017, it was over 7,000 and the latest statistics available show our armed forces are short of their full strength by 8,160 men. The problem is getting worse.