The number of personnel in the forces is not only not increasing due to greater demand but recruiting rates are slowing whilst "quit rates" accelerate, according to a comprehensive National Audit Office report.
The report says that as of July:
"The Army’s strength was 100,010 personnel – a shortfall of 1,790 personnel (1.8 per cent), which was within manning balance. The Royal Navy remained below manning balance, its strength was 35,470 personnel – a shortfall of 1,310 personnel (3.6 per cent). The Royal Air Force was also below manning balance – its strength was 45,210 personnel – a shortfall of 2,080 personnel (4.4 per cent), having made a tranche of redundancies in April 2006. All three Services expect to be within manning balance by April 2008, but are experiencing shortfalls in the intervening period."
The Army has been cancelling training courses, breaks between
tours of duty are getting shorter, and reservists are being used more and more to make up the shortfall. Liam Fox
portrayed the situation as Blair making commitments that Brown isn’t resourcing:
"This damning report confirms what we have been saying
for some time. The gap between our commitments and our resources is
growing and putting unacceptable pressures on our service personnel and
their families. The Government cannot continue like this – if the Prime Minister is
going to continue making commitments then the Chancellor must be
willing to foot the bill."
Royal Marines and medical staff are particularly dissatisfied with their jobs – people that are crucially important.