HC Deb 06 July 1979 vol 969 cc738-9W
Mr. Churchill

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the principal categories in each of the Armed Services where serious manpower shortages exist; and if he will make a statement as to the measures he proposes to deal with these deficiencies.

Mr. Pym

Manpower shortages affect officers and service men in all three Services. At present there are particular shortfalls in the Royal Navy among junior seamen officers, artificers, mechanics, electricians and seamen leading rates; in the Army among captains and junior majors and non-commissioned officer aircrew and signal technicians; and in the RAF among pilots, ground engineers and fighter controllers and in the airframe and weapon engineering trades, suppliers and the police. In the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers) on 28th June I set out the measures which we have had to take to reduce to a minimum the effects of these shortages on our front line forces. In the speech which I made on 28th June, a copy of which I have placed in the Library, I set out the steps which we are taking for the Armed Forces as a whole, and which I hope will remedy our manpower shortages. I made it clear, however, that it will not be an easy task to do this in the short term.