Armed Forces Personnel Numbers

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 12:00 am, 22nd October 2018

As my right hon. Friend says, the Secretary of State was very clear, in the evidence he gave to the Select Committee, that there is always the option of ending the contract. I am pleased to say that there is good news. This is a long process, from application stage to delivering a soldier who is trained perhaps a year later, but we are now seeing applications at a five-year high, so the hopper is being filled at a rate not seen for the past five years. Equally, the conversion rate—managing to get applications converted and on to training—is also improving. At the start of the pipeline there are very positive signs indeed.