Like all Government Departments, the Ministry of Defence routinely reviews expenditure to ensure that we allocate our resources where they are needed most and success in Afghanistan must take priority. Accordingly, senior officials discussed emerging budgetary pressures in the summer and then asked all budget holders within the Department to review all uncommitted funding. The plan to restrict Territorial Army activity for the remainder of the current financial year was one of a number of cost saving proposals put forward by the Chief of the General Staff and endorsed by the Defence Secretary.
Regular Army personnel attached to TA units will continue to work and be paid during the period of restrictions.
(2) what estimate he has made of the reduction in expenditure which will accrue from the six-month stand-down of the Territorial Army.
We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the front-line is properly resourced, and that the mission in Afghanistan will have all the backing it needs to succeed. All personnel, both regular and reserve, currently earmarked for operations will be provided with the training they need before deployment and be paid for it. The suspension for the remainder of this financial year of Territorial Army (TA) activity not directly supporting operations will contribute £20 million to a total saving of £43 million in the TA budget this year.
The reductions in normal activity are, of course, disappointing for TA members. We hope that the majority will understand the reasons behind these restrictions and the exceptional circumstances in which they are being applied. We are confident that reservists will stay to resume training when the restrictions are lifted.
(2) how many Territorial Army (TA) reservists in (a) Pembrokeshire and (b) Wales will continue to receive operational training before deployment on operations during the proposed six month stand-down of the TA;
(3) how many Territorial Army reservists from (a) Pembrokeshire and (b) Wales have served in operations in (i) Afghanistan and (ii) Iraq since 2002;
(4) what assessment he has made of the role and effectiveness of the Territorial Army in Wales.
The Territorial Army (TA) continues to play a vital role in support of the Regular Army, not least on operations in Afghanistan. TA personnel in Wales offer a variety of essential skills and capabilities including infantry, artillery, medical, engineers and transport.
The current period of restricted activity does not affect those TA personnel preparing for operations or those new recruits in Phase 1 (initial) training. Approximately 2,300 TA personnel are attached to TA units based in Wales. Of these 30 are attached to units based in Pembrokeshire. Of the 2300, 60 are currently on operations, a further 120 are currently training for operations and a further 420 are in Phase 1 training. Fewer than 10 of the 30 personnel attached to units based in Pembrokeshire are currently training for operations; and a further 10 are in Phase 1 training. None is currently mobilised. All TA personnel will be provided with opportunities to undertake activities required to meet the minimum standard to qualify for their bounty this year, if they have not already done so.
Approximately 930 TA personnel have mobilised to serve on operations overseas from units based in Wales since 2003. Of these fewer than 10 have deployed from units based in Pembrokeshire. These figures include small numbers of personnel who deployed on operations other than in Afghanistan and Iraq. Information prior to 2003 and on numbers who have deployed to specific operational theatres is not held centrally.
The restrictions being applied this financial year to Territorial Army training affect only those units that are funded from the Land Forces budget. This includes 4th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment. The Royal Marines Reserves receive their funding by other routes. It is the long-standing practice of this Department not to comment upon Special Forces.