HL Deb 21 December 1983 vol 446 cc828-9WA
Lord Hill-Norton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the pilot scheme for the Home Service Force has been successful; and whether there are plans to expand the force.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Lord Trefgarne)

We began a two-year pilot scheme to assess the feasibility of establishing the Home Service Force in September 1982. Recruiting and training for the four companies set up at that time have gone extremely well and we have been encouraged by the high standard and enthusiasm of the volunteers. In the light of this success we have now given approval for the expansion of the Home Service Force to a strength of up to 5,000. The precise timetable for the expansion remains to he decided but we hope to begin recruiting next autumn. We also intend to examine the scope for further expansion of the Home Service Force in the longer term. The expanded Home Service Force will be a valuable addition to our home defence capabilities.