Magazine article Public Finance

MPs Warn of Shortfall in Armed Forces Personnel

Magazine article Public Finance

MPs Warn of Shortfall in Armed Forces Personnel

Article excerpt

Britain's armed forces do not have enough servicemen and women to meet the demands placed on them by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, MPs warned this week.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee reported on July 3 that a shortfall in personnel across the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force increased last year - from 5,170 to 5,850 in April.

'Severe shortfalls' in specialist roles, such as nurses and linguists, are causing particular problems, MPs said, and should be tackled by improving pay regimes - perhaps by making them more flexible.

The MPs' conclusions expose the degree to which Britain's military has become stretched by the two campaigns, and will add further weight to calls for a swift withdrawal from Iraq in particular - or a change in British operations.

Committee chair Edward Leigh said: 'The staffing situation has reached a point where there are simply not enough service people to meet levels of military activity planned some years ago - let alone the heightened demands now being placed on them by commitments such as the Iraq and Afghanistan operations. …

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