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Army Recruitment Offices

Volume 559: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2013

8. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence on the closure of the army recruitment offices in Wales. (144378)

I have discussed this issue with the Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois). I was also pleased to support him when we debated this topic in Westminster Hall earlier this month.

Wales punches above its weight in recruitment to the armed forces, but Government outsourcing means that half its careers offices will be closed. What assurances can the Minister give that the Army will still be able to recruit from all parts of Wales, including the valleys, after these closures?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right; Wales has traditionally been a healthy recruiting ground for excellent soldiers for our armed forces, and that will continue to be the case under the new partnership between Capita and the Army on recruitment. There is a long-term trend of young people using the internet to access careers advice, and that is exactly the same with defence careers. However, this is not just about an online service, but about mobile teams getting out into the communities to enable face-to-face contact between men and women in uniform and young people who show an interest in a career in the armed forces.