HC Deb 17 December 1990 vol 183 cc7-8W
Mr. Carrington

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has yet completed his consideration of the selective use of reservists in connection with Operation Granby, following his remarks in the House on 11 December,Official Report, column 908.

Mr. Tom King

Up to about 1,500 reservists with specialist skills will be required in support of British deployments to the Gulf. There has been a most encouraging response to my call for volunteers with relevant medical training and experience, but this has fallen short of our requirement. Many have felt unable to commit themselves because there is no legal protection for the jobs of those who volunteer.

It remains my aim to meet our requirement for reservists with individuals who express a willingness to serve, but I believe that it is essential that those volunteering should have their jobs protected. To this end, Her Majesty the Queen, in exercise of the powers conferred upon her by section 10 of the Reserve Forces Act 1980, has today, by order signified under my hand, authorised the calling out of the reserve forces. This will enable the selective call-out of members of the Army Reserve, the Territorial Army, the Air Force Reserve, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, the Royal Navy Reserve including the Royal Fleet Reserve and the special class of the Royal Fleet Reserve, and the Royal Marines Reserve.

I intend now to call again for volunteers in the necessary categories, either to serve in the Gulf, or in the United Kingdom or Germany, in order to release other personnel for the Gulf. It will be made clear to those who volunteer that they will be formally called out under the Reserve Forces Act 1980, which will provide a call-out gratuity and legal protection for their jobs. As an additional measure, a supplement of up to 20 per cent. —and more in special cases—will be paid to those reservists called out to make up any difference between their civilian earnings and their military pay.

If, in spite of these measures, insufficient volunteers come forward, I will need to call out individual ex-Regular reservists compulsorily. Most of the reservists will be required to report at the beginning of the new year. In view of the Christmas period and my desire to provide the maximum possible warning, individual reservists will be notified now of the possibility that they may be called out compulsorily.

In addition to this requirement for medical reservists, a small number of reservists with other specialist skills may be needed. I would also aim to meet this requirement with volunteers, although those coming forward would be called out formally under section 10 of the Reserve Forces Act so that their service could be placed on a similar basis.

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