HL Deb 21 January 1982 vol 426 cc710-1

4.16 p.m.

The Earl of Avon

My Lords, I beg to move, that the Bill be now read a second time. This Bill proposes minor amendments to the Reserve Forces Act 1980, which was itself a consolidation of existing legislation on the reserve forces. The Government have many times reaffirmed the importance they attach to the Reserve Forces, and, as my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced in June 1981, we expect that they will have an even larger part to play in the collective defence and security of the United Kingdom and NATO in the future. In particular, we plan to increase the strength of the Territorial Army from 70,000 to 86,000 during the 1980s.

Turning to the Bill, its main provision is to be found in Clause 1, and is to give legal effect to the change of title of the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve to the Territorial Army. The designation TAVR dates from the reorganisation of the Army Reserves in 1967. In June 1978, a committee under Major-General Shapland, which had been set up to study wastage in the TAVR, recommended, among other things, that the word "reserve" should be dropped, since this did not reflect its contemporary role, and that the title "Territorial Army" should be readopted. The Government accepted this recommendation on taking office, as was announced by my right honourable friend the present Lord President of the Council on 7th August 1979. This change has been welcomed by the TAVR and its Council, and also, I think, by many noble Lords. I am glad to say that the name "Territorial Army" is now in common usage once more. It does, however, remain necessary to formalise the change by amending the legal title of the Force, established by Section 5 of the Reserve Forces Act 1980. This, Clause 1 of the Bill is designed to do.

There are a number of other miscellaneous provisions in the Bill which I can explain in more detail if the House so wishes.

Moved, that the Bill be now read a second time—(The Earl of Avon.)

On Question, Bill read a second time and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Lord Cullen of Ashbourne

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure for five minutes.

Moved accordingly and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 4.18 to 4.23 p.m.]