Michael Fallon was quizzed by Marr on Army numbers, Marr saying a promise in the 2015 manifesto to keep regular army numbers above 82,000 has been broken…the BBC’s Reality Check agrees….
The Ministry of Defence publishes monthly figures for the size of the armed forces, the most recent of which are for March this year.
It has fallen gradually in the two years since then, so that it now stands at 78,432.
The actual pledge from the manifesto was: “We will maintain the size of the regular armed services and not reduce the army to below 82,000.”
But is that true? The BBC seem very selective in their choice of figures…The MOD report quoted by the BBC actually says…..
As at 1 March 2017, the Tri-Service Full-time Trained Strength was 142,720. A Service breakdown is shown below in Table 3. Comparisons prior to October 2016 are not available for the Army because it is not possible to identify a split between Phase 1 and Phase 2 training prior to that.
Don’t know about you but a figure of 82,390 is higher than 82,000….isn’t it?
Or another figure from the same MOD publication…bearing in mind there are differences in how regulars are categorised in these reports…as to phase of training and trades and the inclusion of reservists who work and are contracted as regulars….
So again a figure for the regular army of more than 82,000….83,310 in fact…..
The BBC has chosen to quote this figure alone, 78,430……which is the figure only for fully trade trained soldiers…there are raw recruits, then those who have qualified as soldiers and then those who go on to do their specialist trade training….the figure here is of that last unique group and does not include those with no trade training and those still in basic training……
As at 1 March 2017, the FTTS (RN/RM & RAF) and FTTTS (Army) is 138,760, a decrease of 1.3 per cent (1,800 personnel) since 1 March 2016. Of this, the FTTS for the RN/RM is 29,480 , 30,850 for the RAF and the FTTTS [full time trade trained service] is 78,430 for the Army.
The BBC has not taken into account the regular recruits still in training, trade or basic, and just uses the one figure that suits them to ‘prove’ the Tories failed to deliver on their manifesto and inteprets the manifesto comment in a similar vein.
The BBC’s fact check is deliberately misleading not making clear the differences between trained, trade trained and those in training and not including the figures for the total number of regulars including those still in training.
It tells us that….
[The Army strength] currently stands at nearly 78,500 so that pledge has been broken.