§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in the last year for which figures are available, how many soldiers enlisted at the ages of (a) 16 years, (b) 17 years and (c) 18 years; and what proportion had discharged themselves before serving (i) three months, (ii) six months and (iii) 12 months.
§ Mr. Freeman
In the financial year 1985–86, the numbers of soldiers enlisted at ages 16, 17 and 18 were as follows:
Number Age 16 7,106 Age 17 3,310 Age 18 2,475
Of these, the following percentages obtained discharge as of right during the first six months of their service:
Per cent. Age 16 at entry 21.1 Age 17 at entry 18.9 Age 18 at entry 15.0
Statistics are not readily available of the numbers in each age group obtaining discharge during the first three months or between seven and 12 months of service, and the information could only be obtained with disproportionate effort and cost.