HC Deb 04 November 2002 vol 392 c57W
37. Ross Cranston

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress has been made in enhancing the role of the reserves in home defence; and if he will make a statement. [76731]

Mr. Hoon

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces announced the full implementation of our proposals for the use of the Reserves in home defence and security in the House on 31 October 2002,Official Report, column 1023.

The new arrangements will provide significant improvements in three areas. An enhanced regionally-based planning and command capability will make it easier for the authorities dealing with civil contingencies to secure rapid support from the Armed Forces, both Regular and Reserve. An integrated communications infrastructure will be provided by a Territorial Army unit, 2 (National Communications) Signals Brigade, for which we are acquiring new communications equipment compatible with that being introduced in the emergency services. Finally, we are establishing 14 Civil Contingency Reaction Forces, each of some 500 volunteers from existing Reservists, to provide a new planned capability to assist the emergency services and other authorities at short notice.

In total the Reserve Forces will receive an addition of some 700 new posts and some 130,000 man-training days.

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