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Future Reserves 2020

Volume 598: debated on Monday 13 July 2015

11. What assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the decision by the Major Projects Authority to give the Future Reserves 2020 programme a red rating. (900916)

My hon. Friend will have heard my earlier answer.

Since the MPA report, governance has been shaken up, with each service delivering its own programme alongside a defence-level enabling structure. My hon. Friend will know from many earlier answers that our improvements in recruitment, selection and training processes are bearing fruit. We remain committed to delivering the FR20 requirement.

The Minister will nevertheless know that the MPA declares as red projects that it believes risk being unachievable. Given the delays, cost increases and capability gaps, and given reports that superannuated reservists and those who do not regularly attend parades are remaining on strength, at what point will the Government consider scrapping their plans and increasing the size of the regular Army?

We recruited nearly 7,000 reservists across the three services last year. That was a rise of 65%, and the rise was even greater within the Army Reserve. As for my hon. Friend’s reference to superannuated reservists, I visited 3 Royal Welsh last weekend, and the average age of that battalion has dropped from 41 to 31 over the past three years.