Army recruitment adverts condemned

Recruitment adverts for soldiers are a "sham" and the Government should be prosecuted for a "misleading prospectus", a former defence minister has said.

Labour's Lord Touhig hit out at the way the Army was recruiting while at the same time making soldiers redundant. More than 4,000 soldiers were told this week that they have lost their jobs in the latest round of Army redundancies.

A total of 4,480 Army personnel have been made redundant in the latest tranche of job losses as the Government tries to reduce the number of regulars to 82,000 by 2018.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said the move is necessary to help balance the books but insisted operational capability would not be affected.

Lord Touhig said at question time in the Lords: "'There has never been a better time to be a soldier, get qualified and have a career'. That is on the Army website right now this minute. It further states: 'There will be even more opportunities for people who want to enjoy the challenges that come with becoming a soldier'.

"That is a sham and if there is any justice the Government would be prosecuted for issuing a misleading prospectus."

He asked defence minister Lord Astor of Hever: "How long will the Government go on sacking highly motivated, highly trained, highly skilled soldiers, who have been trained at great expense to the taxpayer and served the country well and at the same time spend an absolute fortune advertising, recruiting and training their replacements? This is a total waste of taxpayer money and is harming our defence capability."

Lord Astor told him: "No Government likes making these redundancies. While reduced recruitment and fewer extensions of service will account for some reductions, a redundancy programme is needed to ensure the right balance of skills is maintained."

But Labour's Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall demanded: "Why are we still recruiting while we are making redundancies?"

Lord Astor replied: "Even while reducing in size, the Army must continue to recruit to replace those who are promoted with new talent. It needs to develop its owner leaders, it cannot bring in people from outside to leadership roles without the necessary military experience." of Defence)