§ 22. Mr. Goodhart
asked the Minister of State for Defence what action he is taking to improve the level of recruiting for the Armed Forces.
§ Mr. Blaker
I have nothing to add to what was said by my right hon. Friend on this subject in the defence debate on 12th December.—[Vol. 866, c. 431–4.]
§ Mr. Goodhart
Although temporary short-time working in industry should improve recruiting figures in the immediate future, may I ask my hon. Friend once again to have talks with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science about the possibility of allowing senior schoolboys to joint the excellent training establishments run by the Armed Forces? Will he assure the House that the financial retrenchments in the defence budget will not lead to any change in our manpower requirements?
§ Mr. Blaker
On that last point, I can confirm it so far as can be foreseen at the moment. On the question of the recruitment of 15-year-olds, as has been said by my right hon. Friends in both Houses it is far too early to assess the permanent effect of the raising of the school leaving age upon recruitment, but 1136 we shall be reviewing the situation when the normal pattern of school leaving is re-established.
§ Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles
Does my hon. Friend understand that recruiting depends on giving the men the tools for the job? Will he get his right hon. Friend to issue a categorical denial of Press reports this morning that the through-deck cruiser is to be flogged off to Iran?