HC Deb 02 December 1959 vol 614 cc1168-9
22. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for War what progress is being made with the build-up of Regular Forces of officers and other ranks, respectively; and what further inducements in pay and conditions it is in tended to offer in order to attract recruits.

Mr. Soames

We are still not obtaining the number of officers we need, although there has been a welcome increase this year in the number of cadets entering Sandhurst. I expect some changes in conditions of service to follow the recommendations of the Goodbody Committee.

Where the recruitment of other ranks is concerned, I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to my statement in the debate on 12th November, which goes into the subject in some detail. The biennial pay and pensions review is in progress. An announcement about the findings will be made in the New Year.

Mr. Shinwell

Is not it now rather unlikely that the right hon. Gentleman will reach his target of 185,000 officers and men in the stipulated period? If so, will not he require to undertake some drastic action to attract more recruits?

Mr. Soames

I cannot agree. The original target was 165,000. We were recruiting over that and we were allowed to recruit up to a ceiling around 180,000. We will certainly reach the target of 165,000 by the beginning of 1962 as things are now going. I hope the figure will be somewhat above that. It will still be filling up as the years go on.

Mr. Strachey

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that there are difficulties about special categories of technicians and other ranks, and may we expect that in the pay review special attention will be paid to those categories?

Mr. Soames

There are shortages in certain categories. The right hon. Gentleman will not expect me to comment on the forthcoming pay review.