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Armed Forces: Recruitment

Volume 501: debated on Tuesday 24 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of progress towards his Department's recruitment targets for the armed forces in the (a) short and (b) medium term; and how many personnel have been recruited into the armed forces from non-Commonwealth countries in each of the last three years. (300387)

Recruiting targets are determined annually based on current and forecast outflow rates and liability, and recruitment to all three services continues to improve. Targeted national, regional and local level recruiting campaigns coupled with the current economic climate are factors contributing to increased interest.

Shortages in some key trades remain a concern. This is being addressed through retention incentives, increased recruiting, and by restructuring the services to improve effectiveness.

Manning Balance is defined in the MOD's public service agreement as between -2 per cent. and +1 per cent. of the requirement. The Army has moved into Manning Balance and the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are both forecast to move into Manning Balance during 2010.

With the exception of the citizens of the Republic of Ireland and Nepalese citizens recruited into the Royal Gurkha Rifles we do not recruit outside of the Commonwealth.

Gurkha intake was fixed at 230 personnel over the previous three financial years 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09.

The following table provides the number of other personnel recruited into the UK Regular Forces who register a non-Commonwealth nationality.









Notes: 1. Figures have been rounded to 10. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias. 2. Availability of data has been affected by the introduction of the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system. Figures for 2006-07 exclude the RAF and Army figures for 2006-07 are for the 11-month period from 1 April 2006 to 28 February 2007. 3. All figures are provisional and subject to review due to ongoing validation of data from JPA.