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Armed Forces: Recruitment

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) applicants to and (b) recruits into each of HM armed services came from each ethnic origin in 2007; and what targets he has set for recruitment of members of ethnic minority groups in 2008. (232576)

The information is not held in the format requested. Nevertheless, I am able to provide the following details of the overall number of UK based (i.e. not Commonwealth) ethnic minority (EM) recruits:

Financial year 2007-08

Intake goal

UK EM goals (Percentage)




Naval Service















1 Army officer applicants only: Other ranks details not available due to problems with new management information system.

Departmental UK EM recruiting goals form part of the overall armed forces EM representation goal (8 per cent. by 2013). A new round of UK EM recruiting goals began in financial year 2006-07. From 1 April 2006, and for the next four years the goals were set at 0.5 per cent. above the previous year's achievement for each service, or rolling forward the previous year's target—whichever was higher. The UK EM recruiting goals for FY 2008-09 are therefore:

Naval Service: 3.5 per cent;

Army: 4.3 per cent;

RAF: 3.6 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits to (a) each of the armed forces and (b) each regiment were from each socio-economic background in the latest period for which information is available. (232577)

A person's socio-economic background is not relevant to service in the armed forces. As this information is not required, applicants are not questioned as to their socio-economic background, and no details are kept.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to (a) identify and (b) make special provision for care leavers entering HM Armed Services. (232611)

Where a care leaver under the age of 18 wishes to join the armed forces, the local authority will be required to sign the consent form in lieu of a parent. Where the individual is over the age of 18, they may choose to tell the armed forces but there is no obligation on them to do so.

The services recognise the local authority’s statutory responsibility to take reasonable steps to keep in touch, or to re-establish contact if lost, with their care leavers, up to the age of 21. They will forward correspondence from local authorities to the individuals concerned. Care leavers are offered the support of the single service welfare services who may also liaise with the appropriate local authority on their behalf if necessary, and given access, should they request it, to the responsible local authority’s services to which they are entitled.

In addition, an identified care leaver being discharged early (i.e. with the less than four years of service) will be classified as a potentially vulnerable service leaver and offered additional assistance with housing, employment and other support as required.