§ Mr. Jenkins
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the effect on overstretch of a difference between the target number of armed forces personnel and the actual number of personnel. 
§ Mr. Caplin
As at 1 May 2003 the shortfall against the current trained requirement of the armed forces stood at 6,450. This is an improvement on the same time last year with an increase in the overall trained strength and a decrease in the deficit. All three Services are working hard to address the shortfalls so that the targets set out in the current Public Service Agreements can be met.
Details of shortfalls by individual Service as at 1 May 2003 are shown as follows.880W
Trained requirement Trained strength Shortfall Naval Service 38,500 37,460 -1,040 Army 106,980 102,430 -4,540 RAF 49,640 48,770 -870