HL Deb 07 April 1982 vol 429 cc219-20

11.7 a.m.

The Earl of Kimberley My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that a robust publicity campaign is launched about their proposals for the new Home Service Force, the expansion of the Territorial Army, and the new Teenager Training Scheme.

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, a campaign to publicise the Youth Adventure Scheme is already in progress, and appropriate action to publicise the Home Service Force is in hand. There are already periodic recruiting campaigns for the Territorial Army.

The Earl of Kimberley

My Lords, may I thank my noble friend for that Answer. I wonder whether he can enlarge upon it a little and say whether the Royal Naval Reserve is being increased? Perhaps we shall be in dire need of them very shortly. Can he perhaps give some firm figures for the Territorials?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, I understand that the Royal Naval Reserve stands at 5,361 and the Marines at 1,089, and these figures are close to the total strengths. The Territorial Army has had some very satisfactory recruiting figures since May 1979. It has increased in strength from 59,000 to 71,000.

Lord Molloy

My Lords, can the noble Earl tell the House whether there have been any amendments to the Teenager Training Scheme, in order to rid it of those elements that are redolent of industrial conscription?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, so far as I know, there has been no amendment to the scheme.

Lord Harmar-Nicholls

My Lords, with regard to publicity, is my noble friend making full use of television, through both advertising and news and documentary programmes, in order to bring the schemes to the attention of possible recruits?

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, so far as the Youth Adventure Scheme is concerned, it started only a week ago, and whether it will require more or less publicity will depend on how it is received. With regard to the Home Service Force, it is to be a pilot scheme, and no such publicity is envisaged at the moment.

Lord Molloy

My Lords, is the noble Earl aware that in our previous discussions on the Teenager Training Scheme it was pointed out that if a teenager did not accept the conditions, such as the £15 a week, his punishment would be that he could not receive any form of unemployment benefit? As I understand it, the Government were going to look at that aspect and possibly remove its ugliness.

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, I am sorry, I did not understand the noble Lord's first question. Of course, we are talking about different things. This is the Youth Adventure Scheme, which is a two-week scheme and has nothing to do with the one to which he refers, which, I am afraid, is wide of the Question.

Baroness Wootton of Abinger

My Lords, is not the Teenager Training Scheme included in the noble Earl's Question?

The Earl of Avon

No, my Lords. This is the Youth Adventure Scheme, which is a fortnight's scheme. This is not the scheme to which the noble Lord, Lord Molloy, is referring.