HL Deb 22 January 1998 vol 584 cc263-4WA
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What targets the Ministry of Defence sets in respect of the recruitment of ethnic minority personnel into the Armed Forces. [HL275]

Lord Gilbert

We have made clear on a number of occasions our determination that the Armed Forces should better reflect the ethnic composition of our society. As part of this commitment, I am pleased to announce that, for the year starting in April 1998, the goal for each Service will be that 2 per cent. of new recruits should be from the ethnic minorities, with that figure rising annually by 1 per cent. so that it reaches 5 per cent. by the end of the financial year 2000–02 and, in time, reflects the proportion of people from ethnic minority communities in the wider population.

These recruiting goals represent a major challenge for all in the Services, especially recruiting personnel, and will be reflected in the Ministry of Defence departmental plan. I am confident that they are realistic and provide a strong indication of our wish to make real, tangible progress in this area.