Soldiers to get £1,300 'bounty' for recruiting friends - This Britain - UK - The Independent

Soldiers to get £1,300 'bounty' for recruiting friends

Soldiers are being paid a "bounty" of £1,300 to persuade friends to join the Army because officers believe the conflict in Iraq is making parents turn their children away from the forces.

Members of Infantry and Royal Artillery regiments are being offered the payments from this month to turn round a recruitment shortfall that has left the Army 2,000 soldiers below strength.

But MPs warned that the scheme showed that the Army was over-stretched and warned that high-profile operations in Iraq and Afghanistan were putting recruits off serving.

Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son, Gordon, was killed in Basra a month after completing his training, condemned the payments as "blood money".

Mrs Gentle, who has been visiting schools in Glasgow to persuade young people not to sign up, said: "It's disgusting. It's blood money.

"What happens if a young boy gets his friend to sign up to go to Iraq and he gets killed. He will have to live with that for the rest of his life."

Bounties worth £650 were introduced last autumn to combat a "recruiting shortfall" the Ministry of Defence said. The scheme produced 110 recruits, so senior officers decided to rerun the scheme this summer, starting this month, doubling the bounty to £1,300 for each recruit who passes basic training.

Senior officers have said the high-profile casualties of the war in Iraq and the dangers of military operations in Afghanistan have hit recruitment. They warned that the conflicts fuelled fears among parents - known as "gatekeepers" by Army recruiters - about their sons and daughters signing up.

The launch of the bounty scheme comes after British forces suffered their worst month's casualties in Iraq since the war ended, with 11 Britons killed. The Independent on Sunday revealed this week that dozens of women whose sons, husbands and daughters are serving in Iraq have joined a campaign for British forces to be withdrawn.

The Army and the Royal Artillery were well below their targets for new recruits last year. There were 2,110 new infantry recruits last year, well below the target of 2,830. The Artillery attracted 580 recruits, despite a target to sign 800 new soldiers.

Latest figures show the Army remains below strength, despite a steady reduction in the planned size of the forces in recent years. There were 88,450 in the Army's other ranks, nearly 2,000 down on full strength, although the officer corps was up on its planned numbers.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said recruitment was more difficult in times of economic prosperity. He said: "It is particularly helpful for Army recruitment because it takes a soldier to recruit a soldier."

Mark Harper, the shadow Defence Minister said: "This desperate measure illustrates the chronic recruitment problems the Army faces due to the current overstretch of our armed forces.

"With gaps between tours of duty at an all-time low, recruitment and retention rates are bound to be affected by the Government's policy of taking part in an ever-increasing number of operations with an ever-decreasing standing Army."

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Officer (HMP Brixton Mentoring Project)

£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...

Looking for work in Secondary Schools?

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you looking for work in Ed...

Year 5 Teacher

£3000 - £30000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wor...

Open Day for work in Education

£83 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Are you looking for work in Ed...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week