HC Deb 20 January 1981 vol 997 cc138-9
8. Mr. Trippier

asked the Steretary of State for Defence what has been the increase in uniformed manpower in the three Services since May 1979.

Mr. Pattie

There were 18,630 more men and women in the Armed Forces at 31 October 1980 than at 30 April 1979. Of this increase, 1,009 were attributable to the Royal Navy, 11,944 to the Army, and 5,677 to the Royal Air Force. This represents a 6 per cent. increase over the period.

Mr. Trippier

I thank my hon. Friend for that encouraging reply. Do those figures indicate that many of the vacancies in technical and specialist skills that we inherited from the previous Administration have now been filled?

Mr. Pattie

While recruiting last year was, with only one exception, the highest for the past 17 years, there is still a considerable way to go to make good the rather severe drain highly skilled personnel that we have had in recent years—in particular, engineers in the Royal Navy, fighter controllers in the Royal Air Force and certain other specialist skills among other ranks.

Mr. Park

Has recruitment to the Army been suspended?

Mr. Pattie

It is not true that recruitment has been suspended. Certain changes are made in the advertising campaign from time to time to take account of particular developments and considerations.