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Service Personnel: Retention

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken to increase levels of retention of service personnel. (252613)

[holding answer 9 February 2009]: Taking the armed forces as a whole, retention rates are relatively stable and we have seen no unexplained peaks of personnel leaving in the last 10 years. There is real concern, however, that in some important areas exit rates are too high and appear to be increasing, if only slightly, year on year. These pinch point trades are continuously monitored and specific action is taken to improve retention and indeed recruitment. The recent Command Paper (July 2008) set out over 40 measures aimed at addressing many of the disadvantages of service life while the Government's response to the Report of Inquiry into National Recognition of our Armed Forces has now been presented to Parliament detailing how we have accepted the majority of recommendations. In addition, a wide range of measures are in place to improve retention, including career management, improvement to conditions of service and work/life balance, commitment bonuses and targeted financial retention initiatives.