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Regular Recruitment

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for War his estimate of the additional recruitment to the Regular Army which has resulted to the latest date from the improvements in pay introduced on 1st April; and if he is satisfied with this response.

The pay improvements were designed mainly to persuade the right type of man already in the Army to prolong his service. It is too early properly to assess their effect, but the numbers who have prolonged their service since 1st April seem to show an encouraging improvement which, I hope, will be maintained.

Is the Secretary of State aware that confidence in the administration of the Army, which is one thing that will attract more recruits, is not enhanced by his refusing to carry out the rules and regulations laid down by Parliament? Will he say whether he thinks now, on the basis of his experience, that the improvements in pay will bring him a sufficient number of recruits to enable him to reduce National Service?

I said in answer to the hon. Gentleman's Question that the main object of the recent pay changes was to induce men to prolong their service and to remain in the Army, and, so far as one can see in the three months since they have been receiving the new pay, the results are encouraging.

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that the difficulty in the carrying out of his recruiting policy is due as much as to anything else to the fact that the penalties under the Army Act apply only to private soldiers and not to officers in the Brigade of Guards?

I would point out to the hon. Member that he is quite wrong in supposing that the particular incident to which he referred was in breach of the Army Act.