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MoD’s old military weapons should be given to Army cadets, Tory MP says

Military equipment no longer used by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) should be given to the Army Cadet Force, a Conservative MP told the Commons.

Former military officer James Sunderland said old uniforms and weapons which would otherwise be disposed of would be useful to cadet units.

During a debate on the cadet expansion programme, Mr Sunderland said better training facilities should be provided for cadets.

The  Bracknell MP said: “It goes without saying that higher operating costs should be mitigated too, that more transport should be available, that more opportunities are provided to train alongside our regular forces and that better event training and more updated equipment can be delivered.

James Sunderland
Former military officer James Sunderland said old uniforms and weapons would be useful to cadet units (UK Parliament/PA)

“Whilst it is a considerable outlay for the MoD to provide uniforms, weapons and other personal kit, it should be possible for other serviceable ex-military equipment, that would otherwise be disposed of, to be provided to cadet units.”

Mr Sunderland also said volunteers should be paid for their time. He said: “It would be massively positive for all of our adult volunteers to be given a financial incentive for their time.

“Not only would this be recruitment and retention positive, it would send a clear signal that the MoD is taking the broader benefits more seriously. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of the Cadet movement.”

The cadets is a voluntary youth organisation sponsored and supported by the Army but not part of it.

Cadet parade
The cadets is a voluntary youth organisation sponsored and supported by the Army but not part of it (John Stillwell/PA)

Defence minister Dr Andrew Murrison praised the cadets, telling the Commons: “It is a wonderful thing for our communities to have cadets. I have seen them in my own constituency and they are an important part of the local fabric, supporting occasions from Remembrance Sunday to armed forces day and beyond, and we are very lucky to have them indeed.”

However, Dr Murrison suggested his own experience in the cadets was not “quite as happy” as the stories told by Mr Sunderland of his own time.

The minister said: “I remember joining the Air Cadets briefly. I was told I was going to fly aircraft.

“After about two months it dawned on me that wasn’t going to happen, and it was going to be marching up and down for as long as I could put up with it, which wasn’t very long.

“So I have to say I departed company from cadets much sooner than he did, but there it is.”