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Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits to the Armed Forces had their applications rejected on economic grounds: and what are the rules in this respect.

I assume the hon. Gentleman has in mind reductions in recruiting targets. Targets are set at the levels necessary to meet the overall manpower requirements of the Services, taking into account such factors as past recruiting performance and assumed rates of outflow. Thus, in the present financial year the Services are expecting to enter some 41,000 recruits—all ranks, male and female—compared with 46,906 recruited in 1975–76, the difference being accounted for by the need to reduce numbers to the levels planned for 1979 and reduced rates of wastage.