§ 29. Mr. Channon
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has for increasing regular recruitment to the Armed Forces.
§ Mr. Mayhew
My right hon. Friend has already dealt with recruiting for the Army.
Measures to stimulate recruitment for the Royal Navy include the strenghthening of the recruiting and publicity organisations, under a new appointment of a Director General Naval Recruiting.
The Royal Air Force has no immediate manpower problem; until the summer of this year recruiting for ground trades has been severely restricted because of the reduction in the size of the force. Experience since it was resumed suggests that in general requirements will be met.
§ Mr. Channon
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that vague talk about reexamining defence commitments, coupled with promises, repeated today, for increasing the size of the Royal Navy, leads to considerable confusion in the Armed Forces and among those considering joining and is, therefore, likely to detract from recruiting rather than increase it?
§ Mr. Mayhew
The last Government left behind an acute manpower situation in the Royal Navy. I do not think it would be a good thing to spell out all the facts of that position. In return, perhaps the Opposition will use some restraint on this matter as well.