HC Deb 16 October 2002 vol 390 c868W
Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress has been made to increase the numbers of(a) engineers, (b) signallers and (c) medical services in the armed forces. [74413]

Mr. Ingram

The Armed Forces undertake numerous and varied recruiting and retention initiatives designed to improve the manning levels of all trades and specialisations which are experiencing, or which are predicted to encounter, shortfalls. Those undertaken to boost levels of engineers, signallers and medical services personnel are bearing fruit. In the Army, in the first six months of 2002–2003, RE enlistments are up 33 per cent., REME enlistments up 24 per cent., R Signals enlistments up 24 per cent. and AMS enlistments up by 7 per cent., over the corresponding period last year. These specialist groups are amongst those that are subject to close scrutiny because of the potential impact that any shortfalls might have on operational capability.