Army budget cuts have created a 'hostile recruiting environment'

Leaked MoD document claims part-time soldiers are being put off from signing up as reservists

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The Independent Online

Potential part-time soldiers are being deterred from signing up the new Army Reserve due to defence cuts and a “hostile recruiting environment”, a leaked document has warned.

Under Government plans the full-time Army is being cut from 102,000 to 82,000 while the newly-renamed Army Reserve - formerly the Territorial Army - is being expanded from 19,000 to 30,000.

The memo, which has been seen by the Daily Telegraph, claims there have been “disappointing” numbers of reservists being recruited and voiced fears that targets will not be reached.

According to The Telegraph, the leaked memo, which it said was "widely distributed" among the Ministry of Defence [MoD], claims barely half the number of reservists needed are being recruited and lists obstacles such as “redundancy downsizing, drawdown in Afghanistan and a reported (if unproven) increase in mental health issues”.

It said the document warns: “There is also a lack of faith in the reserve proposition in some quarters.”

The MoD said it remains confident that it can recruit the required numbers of reservists.

A spokesman said: “We have been clear that the regular Army is becoming smaller but we are committed to delivering a fully integrated strength of 120,000 by 2018.

“Over a year ago we announced changes to the Army's structure so it is more reflective of the complex global situation.

“We have always acknowledged that growing the Reserves would be a challenge which is why we are investing £1.8 billion in training, support and equipment for the Reserves over the next 10 years, as well as running a sustained recruitment campaign aimed at young people to showcase the diverse range of career paths that are available in both the Regular Army and the Army Reserve.”

An MoD source said the figures quoted in the memo, which was dated 6 August, were no longer relevant.

The source said: “These old figures are from a period before we set out the new offer to Reservists and employers and pre-dates the recruitment campaign that started last month, so are extremely misleading and do not reflect current recruitment.”