Cadets

Uncertainty Over Return Of Face-To-Face Cadet Training

Defence Minister Baroness Goldie told the House of Lords there would be a "cautious but progressive" return of activity.

The Government has said it cannot give a timetable for forces cadets to resume face-to-face training, despite the roadmap in place for the easing of lockdown.

Speaking via a video link in the House of Lords on Monday, Defence Minister Baroness Goldie said there would be a "cautious but progressive" return of activity.

It came after Conservative peer Lord Lingfield said "there seems to be no reason why cadets shouldn't parade as soon as possible now that schools are back".

While Baroness Goldie said there was "certainly an appetite to resume face-to-face activity", the return will "be informed by the relevant guidance and rules at the time".

Pressing the minister, Lord Lingfield also asked if Baroness Goldie would agree that cadet activities, "especially in areas of deprivation, are a route away from trouble and the youth justice system".

In response, she said the benefits are "demonstrable", helping cadets in "the development of their personal skills and also as they prepare for life in the future".

Additionally, a former Chief of the Defence Staff warned mounting red tape is putting off adult volunteers from running the nation's cadet forces.

Lord Lingfield said "there seems to be no reason why cadets shouldn't parade as soon as possible now that schools are back".

Independent crossbencher Lord Stirrup said cadet forces are "crucially dependent upon the adult volunteers who organise them and run their activities".

"These people have come under increasing pressure in recent years because of growing regulatory (pressures) and... have found their roles becoming less and less rewarding," he said.

Lord Stirrup asked Baroness Goldie if the Ministry of Defence would "place sufficient emphasis on recruiting and retaining these adult volunteers without whom the cadet forces would simply not exist".

Paying tribute to the work of the volunteers, Baroness Goldie said they are "deserving of our highest admiration" and her department would "support them in every way" they can.