Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

Letter from the Ministry of Defence to the Clerk of the Committee on the Votes A for financial year 2006-07

  A copy of the MoD Votes A for financial year 2006-07, which is being laid before the House, is attached.

As the Committee knows, Votes A provide the formal mechanism by which Parliament maintains control over the maximum numbers of personnel maintained for service with the Armed Forces. The Vote forms part of the Parliamentary Supply process and is presented to the House by the Secretary of State for Defence shortly before the start of the financial year.

  As confirmed by the Secretary of State for Defence in his Written Ministerial Statement dated 6 December 2005 (Hansard 6 Dec, Col 86WS), the presentational format of Votes A has changed. The figures for the "Commonwealth troops in the United Kingdom" category will no longer be reported, and the numbers of the Queens Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (PMRAFNS) will be incorporated into those of the Regular Army and Regular Air Force.

  All figures have been scrutinised to ensure that sufficient contingency has been included to allow for any unforeseen upward movement in numbers during the year.

  By comparison with the current financial year's Votes A figures, this submission shows the following changes:

    —  Regular Naval Forces have decreased by 2,130 and Reserves Naval forces by 650. Special Members have increased by 1,720 to reflect the gradual transfer in of Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) personnel from 1 April 2006. The current RFA personnel will become Special Reservists on a voluntary basis but new entrants will be automatically enlisted as part of newly revised terms and conditions of service.

    —  Regular Army Forces have decreased by 1,535 to reflect the planned reductions in trained and untrained manpower, whilst both Reserves and Special Members remain unchanged.

    —  Regular Air Force shows a decrease of 3,820. There are no changes to either the Reserves or Special members of the Reserved Air Force.

14 February 2006

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