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Ethnic Minorities

Volume 84: debated on Wednesday 30 October 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) in each of the three services, what are the total numbers of ethnic minority members holding officer rank;(2) if he will estimate the total numbers and percentages of ethnic minority members in the armed forces as a whole, and in each of the three services.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of each armed service are black and what percentage in each case this represents of the total strength; how many members of the Royal Greenjackets are black and what percentage this represents of the total strength; and if he will make a statement.

The information requested is not held by the Ministry of Defence.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the promotion of racial equality of opportunity in recruitment to the armed forces and on the means used to give effect to and monitor the operation of that policy.

The Race Relations Act 1976 applies to the armed services, subject to certain qualifications. As such, no form of racial discrimination is tolerated either in recruitment or in subsequent employment. A complaint from an individual that he had not been recruited to the armed forces on racial grounds could be brought before an industrial tribunal in the normal way. Any complaint of racial discrimination brought by a member of the armed forces concerning his treatment in the service would be fully investigated under existing redress of grievance procedures provided for in the Service Discipline Acts.