asked the Secretary of State for Defence if, in view of the current expansion proposed for the Territorial Army, he will take steps to repair Territorial Army drill halls, especially those which originated in Victorian times.
We plan to spend more money next year on a wide range of works services for the Territorial Army, including the repair and improvement of existing accommodation where necessary.
I remind my hon. Friend that in Victorian times people were still casting and using muzzle-loading cannons. Since then there has been a change in hardware. Will he ensure that our expanded Territorial Army will not have to work in muzzle-loading drill halls?
Our Victorian ancestors were good at building and selecting sites for drill halls. Where necessary the drill halls have been repaired and updated, and they are often in the right positions. Of course, buildings are adapted for modern weapons.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence by what date he expects first to establish and then to recruit the additional 16,000 members of the Territorial Army in accordance with his most recent proposals.
We are continuing to develop our expansion plan, bearing in mind the operational requirement and the likely availability of resources. We envisage a controlled expansion in stages during the 1980s taking account of our ability to recruit and train the extra men. A high priority will be given initially to measures that improve the training and professional standards of the Territorial Army as a whole.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. May I ask him to look into the possibility of using the officers and senior ranks who recently completed their training with the Territorial Army and are on the unposted list, and who have skills that would be extremely useful in expanding the Territorial Army?
I understand what my hon. Friend is saying, but I must tell him that the unposted list is not for that purpose. However, I shall look at the general question and write to him.