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Armed Forces Update

Ministry of Defence written statement – made on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

A new order has been made under section 56(1B) of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable Reservists to be called into permanent service to support HM Forces in connection to the UK’s response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Defence is committed to assisting HMG by ensuring that there are effective and proportionate contingency plans in place to mitigate the potential impacts that the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak might have on the welfare, health and security of UK citizens and economic stability of the UK. Defence is taking prudent steps to ensure that we can provide support to other Government Departments when requested.

As part of this support, Reserve Forces will be on standby to deliver a range of Defence outputs such as (but not limited to): the reinforcement of Regular sub-units, liaison officer roles and the provision of specialist skills. A particularly important role may be the planned reinforcement of Regional Points of Command, to enable their 24/7 operation and resilience. We would also expect Reserves to be drawn upon to support the implementation of contingency plans developed by Other Government Departments.

The order shall take effect from the day on which it is made and shall cease to have effect 12 months from the date on which it is made.