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Advertising Spend

Volume 551: debated on Monday 22 October 2012

Nearly all advertising expenditure by the Ministry of Defence is to attract and recruit the best personnel for the armed forces. In the current financial year, the MOD has to date had approval from the Cabinet Office efficiency and reform group to spend £12 million on recruitment marketing operations to fund general service recruitment activities. A further £18 million was approved for specific recruitment marketing campaigns to address pinch points. The efficiency and reform group is due to decide soon whether to grant a further request for £250,000 for marketing operations and just under £3 million for pinch point campaigns. Further requests may arise during the course of the year. Like all Departments, the MOD seeks to minimise the cost of advertising. Spending has, for example, been reduced from nearly £60 million in 2009-10.

I thank the Minister for that full response. It does seem a little strange that we are spending money on advertising for the Army at the same time as we are making members of the armed forces redundant. On the surface, it looks strange: would the Minister comment?

I know that my hon. Friend has a personal interest in the armed forces as his son is a Chinook pilot who is still flying—I pay tribute to him. His son could probably explain that one needs a constant flow of recruits into the armed forces as otherwise one ends up with an age gap. That has happened in the past—I recall it happening in the 1970s, under the Labour Government of Wilson-Callaghan—so one must continue to recruit; otherwise one ends up with a great gap in skills and ages that is very difficult to fill. A constant age structure is needed throughout the armed forces.