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Reserve Forces

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2003, Official Report, column 785W, on reserve forces, what is being done to remedy the shortfall of reservists; what assessment he has made of the reasons for the difference in the level of shortfall in the three services; and if he will break down the shortfall by (a) rank and (b) branch. [116487]

The Volunteer Reserve Forces run vigorous recruiting campaigns to meet their requirements for manpower each year. The approaches they adopt reflect their differing requirements. The Territorial Army recruits continuously throughout the year, with a surge effort in the spring. Local radio, press and regional events are used, as well as campaigns combined with the Regulars. The Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force recruit on a unit basis, with budgets specifically allocated for this purpose. The Royal Auxiliary Air Force recruits on an ad-hoc basis as and when vacancies arise.The level of shortfall in each of the Volunteer Reserve Forces varies. Each has different requirements and looks for different skills, which affects their recruitment. The Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marine Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force are smaller, and recruit for a specialised reserve. They therefore have limited opportunities that arise in specific parts of the country where units are based. As a larger organisation, the Territorial Army has a nationwide footprint and uses general, as well as specialist, skills. We will be examining whether we can use the experience of Operation TELIC to see if there are lessons to be identified that may aid recruiting across the reserves.

Arm/ServiceOfficerSoldierOfficerSoldierFTRS and MobilisedPercentage manned
Royal Armoured Corps1551,1611261,007186100
Royal Artillery2482,8232442,61211096
Royal Engineers3472,9082492,13548488
Royal Signals4994,7273893,69226781
Army Air Corps321254472174
Royal Army Chaplains Department8706701088
Royal Logistic Corps6256,6384093,8991,29477
Royal Army Medical Corps3,5332,9681,4522,41590573
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers1221,530981,14824698
Adjutant General Corps73359512647991
Royal Army Veterinary Corps14080057
Intelligence Corps1134376132312192
Information for the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marine Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.