HC Deb 12 April 1994 vol 241 cc13-4
14. Mr. Pawsey

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is current front-line infantry strength; and what it was in 1990.

Mr. Hanley

On 1 February this year, the total trained strength of the infantry was about 29,400. On 1 April 1990, it was about 35,900. These figures exclude 3,460 Gurkhas, 6,800 Royal Marines and soldiers from other arms deployed in the infantry role which are regularly about 1,280.

Mr. Pawsey

Given that fall in numbers, is my hon. Friend satisfied that there are sufficient numbers of infantry able to discharge the United Kingdom's obligations in Hong Kong, Northern Ireland and Belize, and for the defence of United Kingdom itself?

Mr. Hanley

The answer is yes. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State announced last November that certain amalgamations would be withdrawn and that there would be 3,000 extra back-up troops because we keep under regular review the need to meet our commitments. At current levels, we believe that the forces which we have meet those commitments, and meet them well.