BRITAIN’S Armed Forces have thousands of unfilled vacancies despite splashing more than £1billion on recruitment drives in recent years.
The spending includes an overspent £752million contract with private firm Capita, which has so far failed to deliver £100million in planned savings.
Army numbers fell to 77,440 in October against an 82,000 target while the RAF and Royal Navy were 5.8 per cent and 3½ per cent adrift.
Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith said it was all “deeply worrying”.
The MoD said the jobs market was tough and all spending was scrutinised.
Tory MP and former Army officer Johnny Mercer said: “It is clear that the military is currently experiencing a manpower crisis and with the amounts of public money being spent on recruitment, I would expect to see much improved results.
“Perhaps it is time for the MoD to review their recruiting practices to ensure that the public is getting proper value for money and that the military is having its manpower requirements satisfied.”
Labour former Defence Minister Kevan Jones, who obtained the Capita figures in a written parliamentary question, said: “Only last week the Government said that its forecast savings for Army recruitment remain unchanged.
“With ministers now admitting that they’ve actually spent an extra £50million, the claim that this private sector contract will save money overall is looking a lot less credible.”
An MoD spokesman said: “In a highly competitive job market the armed forces need to recruit high quality candidates in sufficient numbers to protect UK interests at home and abroad.
“Proactive advertising provides excellent exposure and is a proven way to recruit suitable personnel.
“We continue to scrutinise all spending in order to ensure we obtain value for money.
“The Army has enough people to perform its operational requirements that help keep Britain safe and has recruited around 8,000 people over the last year into a variety of posts.”