§ 3. Mr. Trippier
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many men currently are serving in each of the reserve forces of the Crown compared with the number serving in May 1979.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Army (Mr. Barney Hayhoe)
The strength of the Territorial Army has risen by some 4,800 to over 64,000 since May 1979. In the volunteer reserves of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines there has been an increase of about 100 to just over 6,000 and in the Royal Air Force, including the three new regiment squadrons which began recruiting in autumn 1979, an increase of about 250 to 550. In the same period, the strength of the Regular reserves has risen by some 6,300 to 186,100.
§ Mr. Trippier
Will my hon Friend confirm that those encouraging figures are largely due to the co-operation of the reservists' civilian employers? Will he take steps to encourage more civilian employers to give more time off for reservist training?
§ Mr. Hayhoe
I am happy to pay tribute and express gratitude to civilian employers who have given time off to their employees who are in the volunteer reserves. We rely on the good will of employers, and I urge that they continue to support our volunteer forces.