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Armed Forces Recruitment

Volume 650: debated on Monday 26 November 2018

We remain committed to maintaining the overall size of the armed forces. Importantly, the services continue to meet all their current commitments, keeping the country and its interests safe.

In the light of the record 8,840 shortfall in armed forces personnel, most marked in the Army, which is a staggering 5,870 troops short, when will the Secretary of State recruit to the full quota of regular personnel?

Let us be clear: our armed forces continue to meet all their operational commitments and remain at over 93% manned. We should put this into perspective. We are not complacent, and I am pleased to say that there are the early green shoots of recovery, with the number applying to join the armed forces at a record five-year high. We have to allow those people to work their way through the system.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that young people need a mixture and variety of routes through which to succeed, not just traditional academic routes? How are armed forced opportunities presented to young people?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and I remain convinced that the armed forces continue to be an attractive proposition for young people. There are very few professions that someone can join with limited qualifications and leave with a level 6, degree-level apprenticeship.