John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab)
How many of the former soldiers sacked by the Secretary of State for Defence in historic acts of vandalism have found permanent employment—not employment on the basis of single-hours contracts or temporary employment, but permanent employment? Will he put the figures in the House of Commons Library?
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Anna Soubry)
We find that, among those who leave our armed forces, an incredibly high proportion—some 86%—find employment within six months. That is because they are eminently employable by virtue of the service that they give to our country.
Sir Bob Russell (Colchester) (LD)
When does the relevant Minister expect to announce a decision on the normal pension age for workers in the defence fire and rescue service?
That is a long-running problem. As my hon. Friend will know, those in our defence fire and rescue service are actually employed as civil servants, so it is a difficult one, but we hope to make a decision as soon as possible.
Mr Alan Reid (Argyll and Bute) (LD)
When the Minister is taking a decision on the retirement age for defence, police and fire personnel, will she take into account the fact that the strenuous activity demanded by this job is more in line with the other uniformed services than with the majority of civil servants, and that I believe that a retirement age of 60 is appropriate?
Yes, indeed. Having been to see the work of the fire service myself, I am fully aware of all these arguments. As I say, I very much hope that we will be able to make a decision sooner rather than later.