REVEALED: The thousands of Cornwall teenagers who could be made to do national service

-Credit: (Image: Ben Birchall/PA Wire)
-Credit: (Image: Ben Birchall/PA Wire)

An army of more than 800,000 18-year-olds could be ordered to join the Armed Forces or carry out voluntary work under Rishi Sunak’s plan to bring back compulsory national service. And it would include more than 6,500 young people in Cornwall.
Under the Tory scheme, due to be fully in place by 2029-30 if Mr Sunak wins the election, all 18-year-olds will be legally required to take up either a 12-month placement in the armed forces or cyber defence or give up the equivalent of one weekend a month to volunteer in their communities.
That means the first generation of teenagers to carry out national service since 1960 will currently be aged about 13.

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According to population estimates, there will be about 830,000 18-year-olds in 2029 who would be compelled to join the military or carry out voluntary work. The number in Cornwall of those eligible at present is 6,579, equivalent to 1.14% of the county's overall population.
Under the plan, more teenagers would be conscripted from Birmingham than any other council area in the country, more than 17,000.
But in 2029, 18-year-olds will make up a higher proportion of the population of Barking and Dagenham than anywhere else. In the London borough 1.7% of the population will be aged 18 in mid-2029. That means about one in 59 people in Barking and Dagenham would be eligible for National Service.
You can compare how many 18-year-olds could be required to carry out national service in Cornwall with other areas around the UK in our interactive map:

Defending his plan for the return of compulsory National Service, Mr Sunak said: “It’s going to foster a culture of service which is going to be incredibly powerful for making our society more cohesive and in a more uncertain and dangerous world it’s going to strengthen our country’s security and resilience.”

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However, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called the policy “desperate” and added that it would create a “teenage Dad’s Army”.
Under the scheme around 30,000 full-time military placements will be on offer, with the vast majority of 18-year-olds expected to do the compulsory community roles instead, working with organisations such as charities, the NHS, police or fire services.

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