§ Mr. Jessel
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the outcome of the review of Army bands.
§ Mr. Nott
As I announced in Cmnd. 8288 the size of the Army is to be reduced by 7,000 by 1986. Our objective is to concentrate the savings in the support and infrastructure areas and to minimise the effect on our combat capability and front-line units. After careful study and consultation, it has been decided that Army bands should contribute to the overall reduction. A saving of some 560 posts will be made from the current Army band establishment of 2,531, but not before 1984–85. The savings will be made primarily by reorganising and reducing the established size of bands. In each infantry battalion pipes and drums will still supplement bands, and massing of bands for major occasions will continue. Close attention has been paid to the need to preserve the contribution that bands make to the morale of the Army and to ceremonial and State occasions. The only cap badge bands to be disbanded will be those of the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.