Is National service a good idea?

The conservative party have announced their plan in the lead up to the General Election on the 4th July, for compulsory national service in the UK.


Who would have to participate?

All 18 years old will have to take part, men and women. Sky News reports that exemptions will be based on medical grounds, if they are a student, athlete or single parent.


National service

All 18 year old will be given the option for national service which could include volunteering one weekend a month for organisations such as NHS or charities that work with vulnerable people. The work could include delivering prescriptions or food to people, supporting communities, being a lifeguard and more.

They can also choose a year of military service where they will create 30,000 spaces for 18 year olds to join.

The conservatives have requested for the Royal Commission to look into incentives for young people to complete a year in military service. This could include fast track interview in civil service or big employers once the year is over. Those who complete it could highlight this on their UCAS and the government would urge employers to favour those with the experience. The Royal commission will use Norway and Israel as case studies to determine the best strategy and execution for this proposal.


The Cost

This policy is estimated to cost around £2.5bn a year on training and infrastructure.

Many in leading roles within the military have critiqued this proposal as another burden for the army as training those being made to be there will take extra resources which could be used for funding other aspects of defence.


Will this be beneficial?

The NHS and charity organisations could see benefits from this proposal if the majority of young people choose the volunteering pathway giving them more staff and already trained staff could focus on the more crucial part of their roles.

The money spent on extra staff for those roles will be saved if they have volunteers and could be spent on funding improved systems etc.

The military service could improve defence for the UK however, whether the UK needs untrained young people who could be taking up resources for training and development could be a waste their invaluable time and money when they leave after their year is over.

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