Firms could be rewarded for hiring Territorial Army soldiers

PHILIP Hammond said yesterday that he has not ruled out “financial inducements” for firms who employ members of the Territorial Army.

The defence secretary is seeking to expand the role of the part-time force in the face of budget cuts but will have to deal with opposition from businesses that object to losing their employees for tours of duty.

“We haven’t ruled the possibility of financial inducements to employers, particularly small employers,” Hammond told the BBC’s Sunday Politics.

“The most important thing is to emphasise to employers how there can be mutual benefits in employing reservists. The army spends a huge amount of money in training and upskilling reservists. If we can do that in a way that is sensitive to the needs of their civilian employers then we can make it a win-win situation.”

He also raised the possibility of legislation to stop discrimination against employees who are reluctant to hire reservists.

The MoD is looking to increase the number of reservists from 19,000 to 30,000 by 2018 to compensate for a reduction in the size of the professional force.

The part-time force is set to be renamed the Army Reserve and be more integrated with the full-time military.