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Exercise Lean Look

Volume 82: debated on Tuesday 2 July 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what representations his Department has received since the publication of Exercise Lean Look.

My Department has received two letters.

I thank my right hon. Friend for his response. Does he agree that taxpayers are delighted with the Exercise Lean Look approach, not only because it is a more efficient use of resources, but because it allows the armed forces to do the job that they are properly entitled to do?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. We share his pleasure at the success of Exercise Lean Look. It is having the desirable effect of enabling the Army to make a transfer of some 4,000 men in the support area to the front line, with a significant increase in front-line operational capability as a result.

I am not certain whether I am qualified to ask a question on Exercise Lean Look. However, does my right hon. Friend agree that a soldier, whether he is serving in the cookhouse, or the transport or fire departments, is a trained soldier, and that if some of those jobs can be done by private enterprise it is sheer common sense to release those men so that they may be used for what they were trained for—to fight?

I am sure that my hon. Friend is fully qualified to ask questions on all subjects, not least Lean Look. I assure him that we take the view that he does. It must be sensible to release the maximum number of trained service manpower to do the essential jobs which only they can do in the front line.