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Volume 932: debated on Tuesday 24 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to make recruiting for the Armed Forces more efficient; and if he will make a statement.

As I told my hon. Friend on 2nd May, studies are taking place to see what economies can be made without prejudicing recruitment in the longer term.

Does the Minister agree that it is quite absurd that at this time of great unemployment it costs about £650 to recruit the average employee? Would it not be more realistic for recruitment to take place from jobcentres, as it does with every other technical job, and thus get rid of the forces recruitment offices that dominate town centres?

I am considering the possibility of the use of jobcentres for recruitment but I must tell the House that, from my preliminary studies, the prospects do not look too good. Strenuous efforts are being made to reduce the unacceptably high average cost of recruitment.