Rishi Sunak urged to SACK ‘shambolic’ army recruitment firm as sign-ups suffer

Rishi Sunak urged to SACK ‘shambolic’ army recruitment firm as sign-ups suffer

WATCH HERE: Mark Francois admits army recruitment has been an 'unmitigated disaster'

GB News
Charlie Peters

By Charlie Peters

Published: 19/02/2024

- 17:46

A former Armed Forces Minister warned the army was ‘continuing to shrink before our eyes’

A senior Tory MP has urged the Government to get rid of Capita, the outsourced firm that manages recruitment to the British Army, amid sign-up struggles.

Speaking at Defence Questions in the Commons, Mark Francois asked ministers when the Government would step in to “sack Capita.”

The firm came under significant criticism last month when it was revealed that the Armed Forces were facing significant shortfalls in recruitment, which have been blamed on the rigorous medical assessments candidates must pass in order to start training.

The former Territorial Army infantry officer said: “On the 7th of November, the Chief of the General Staff Patrick Sanders told the Defence Committee ‘we are taking 400 soldiers out of the field army and into recruitment because it takes a soldier to recruit a soldier,’ never a truer word was spoken, so when are we finally going to sack Capita?”

Mark Francois and fresh army graduates

Mark Francois has urged the Government to sack Capita


Andrew Murrison MP, the minister for Defence People and Families, responded: “He will be familiar with Engage to Recruit, which has had some success in getting soldiers to recruit soldiers. That’s probably why we are seeing now some extremely promising recruiting figures, including in January the best figures for six years.”

In reaction, Francois told GB News that the minister’s response was “weak,” adding: “'Applications' can mean just a quick click on a recruitment website - it’s the long delays after that that put very many people off. It’s 'Enlistments' (people actually signing up) which counts - and they are still thousands short.”

The former Armed Forces minister added: “When Capita gave evidence to the House of Commons Defence Committee on the 16th of January, they were deeply unimpressive.

“Ministers and senior MoD officials are in complete denial about how useless they are - while our Army continues to shrink before our very eyes; it’s beyond shambolic now.”


Rishi Sunak has been urged to sack Capita which handles Britain's army recruitment


Francois’s comments come soon after Labour criticised the Government for military recruitment.

According to Labour’s figures, the British Army’s recruitment targets have not been met since 2010.

Labour found that both RAF and Royal Navy personnel figures are below their targets and pointed out that the army has only matched its target because its size was dropped to 73,000 at the last defence review.

Mark Francois

Mark Francois outside Portcullis House


Last month the Guardian reported that since Capita took over army recruitment in 2012, the total personnel shortfall is just over 23,000.

Last month, former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that Gen Z was not signing up to the armed forces at the same rate as his generation.

While echoing calls for more investment in the armed forces, Wallace said that the military needed to “do things differently” to attract more enlistment.

GB News has contacted Capita for comment.

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