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Recruits (Cadet Forces)

Volume 886: debated on Tuesday 11 February 1975

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2.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of recruits to the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force have been members of their respective cadet forces.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Air Force
(Mr. Brynmor John)

Taking the last three years, the cadet forces provided at least 25 per cent. of all entrants to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, 19 per cent. of entrants to the Army and 25 per cent. of those to the Royal Air Force.

That is a considerable proportion of the recruits for all three Services. Will my hon. Friend tell the House what proportion of subsidy, in terms of government support, is involved, respectively, for the State and the private schools concerned?

The total cost of the cadet force, which goes rather wider than the schools, is just over £10 million. Not only does it provide a recruiting base—although I would say that we do not primarily regard it as being for that purpose; it demonstrates the value of a Service career to the youth of this country.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Opposition welcome the very good figures of recruitment, but urge him to resist any suggestions by his hon. Friends that this vital work should be discontinued?

There has not been any suggestion that this vital work should be discontinued. I remind the right hon. Gentleman that the value of cadet forces goes rather wider than the questions which have recently been raised.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the combined cadet forces are good not only for recruiting but in themselves. Will the Government do everything possible to encourage the formation of cadet units in State schools?

The latest figures show that LEA schools provide one-third of the CCFs—about 90 out of 269.