§ Lord Gisborough
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will make a statement about their plans to expand the Home Service Force.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Lord Trefgarne)
I am pleased to announce that our plans for expanding the Home Service Force to a strength of almost 5,000 have now been finalised. In devising our plans, we have been guided by operational requirements and the availability of suitable Territorial Army host units. As a result of this expansion there will be a total of 47 Home Service Force companies, including the existing four pilot scheme companies. The expansion will take place in two stages. The first, which will begin in January, will raise the strength of the Home Service Force to over 4,200 and will involve host units not affected by the Territorial Army expansion programme announced by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 26th March 1984. The second stage will follow the expansion of the Territorial Army and will add a further 500 to the strength of the Home Service Force.
The companies of the expanded Home Service Force will be located as follows:
7 in Scotland (Elgin, Aberdeen, Perth, Dunfermline, Ayr, Dumfries, Edinburgh);
4 in the South-East (Canterbury, Horsham, Reading, Oxford);
7 in the North-East (Huddersfield, Scarborough, Newcastle, Bishop Auckland, Hull, Catterick, Leconfield);
7 in the East (Bedford, Norwich, Peterborough, Chelmsford, Worksop, Derby, Leicester);
5 in London (2 in Finsbury and 3 more, possibly to be located at Chelsea, Hammersmith, and Kensington);
5 in the South-West (Truro, Plymouth, South Cerney, Bath, Salisbury);
522WA 3 in Wales (Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham);
4 in the West (Walsall, Worcester, Kidderminster, Donnington);
5 in the North-West (Lancaster, Chorley, Liverpool, Warrington, Runcorn).
The companies to be raised at Oxford, Kensington, Plymouth and Runcorn will represent the second phase of the expansion.
The companies to be raised at Donnington, Salisbury, South Cerney, Catterick and Leconfield will be hosted by units of the Regular Army; if this proves successful, it will enable us better to consider the scope for further expansion of the Home Service Force in the longer term.
I have placed a full list of the new companies, their host units and locations in the Library.