HC Deb 20 October 1999 vol 336 c585W
Mr. Mackinlay

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if Sir Roger Wheeler, Chief of General Staff, cleared with Ministers his comments on armed forces strength and commitments contained in his interview published in the press on 3 August; and if he will make a statement. [94383]

Mr. Hoon

[holding answer 19 October 1999]General Sir Roger Wheeler was invited by Ministers to give the interview, and spoke with their full knowledge.

Mr. Keetch

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list(a) the current strength and (b) the establishment strength of (i) the Royal Navy, (ii) the Army and (iii) the RAF; and if he will make a statement. [94784]

Mr. Spellar

We remain entirely committed to achieving full manning in the Services, a key SDR target. Last year's recruiting performance was excellent; for the Army the best this decade. An Armed Forces Overarching Personnel Strategy is being developed, of which recruitment and retention will be major strands.

The required strength is expressed in terms of trained personnel. As at 1 September 1999, the latest date for which figures are available, the trained strength and requirement of the UK regular armed forces is:

Trained strength Trained requirement
Naval Service1 38,652 40,312
Army 96,381 102,389
RAF 51,395 53,081
1 Includes Royal Marines