To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what consideration has been given to reducing the number of infantry battalions; and to what figure;(2) what consideration has been given to reducing the number of surface fleet escorts; and to what figure;(3) what assessment has been made of possible increases in the size of
(a) the Parachute Regiment and (b) the Royal Marines.
The Government remain committed to the strong defence of the United Kingdom and to meeting our NATO and out-of-area obligations and our future plans will reflect this aim. We have made it clear that the future structure of our armed forces will need to take account of international developments, including arms control. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has stated, we are examining options for change.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent examination of future levels of civilian staff employed by his Department has taken place.
The levels of personnel employed by the Department, both service and civilian, are regularly monitored. Future staff levels are considered annually during the formulation of the long-term costing.