According to figures revealed in a written Parliamentary answer to shadow defence minister Kevan Jones, the government department has forked out Ã‚Â£5.19 million in adverts for the army, Ã‚Â£2.2 million for the Royal Navy and Ã‚Â£1.85 million for the RAF.
The move comes only weeks after nearly 2,000 armed forces personnel out of a projected 22,000 were issued with redundancy notices.
Junior defence minister Andrew Robathan told MPs that the money was spent on TV and newspaper adverts in order to try and attract new recruits required to replace troops taking retirement and/or both voluntary and compulsory redundancy.
He added: “It is a key requirement for each of the armed forces to maintain a satisfactory balance of skills, experience, ability and seniority in rank to enable delivery of operational requirements. Despite the reduction in overall numbers of service personnel, and the associated need for a redundancy programme, the armed forces must still recruit and train personnel to replace those who leave the services at the end of their current engagements.”
Recruitment activity was particularly important to find staff with specialist qualifications or experience for (unspecified) difficult-to-fill posts, he added.
The news came as the Telegraph revealed that the MoD has put out a tender for a Ã‚Â£1 billion outsourcing deal. The arrangement will see recruitment to the army being hived off to private sector contractors for 10 years.
Under the Recruiting Partnering Project, the winning bidder would be expected to recruit 7,500 officers and men each year, effectively costing taxpayers Ã‚Â£14,000 per soldier. The decision has been described as “perverse” by serving officers who have already been forced to sack 1,000 soldiers this year.
But officials at Army Land Command in Wiltshire attested that the arrangement would save Ã‚Â£250 million over the next decade by removing the need for well-paid senior officers to undertake such backroom tasks as data entry.
It is understand that the RAF and Royal Navy will go down a similar route.
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