Young People Who Refuse To Do National Service Could Lose 'Access To Finance', Rishi Sunak Reveals

Rishi Sunak made the comments on a special election Question Time.
Rishi Sunak made the comments on a special election Question Time. BBC

Young people who refuse to do National Service could lose their “access to finance”, Rishi Sunak has said.

The prime minister also suggested they could have their driving licenses removed.

Sunak revealed the draconian measures during an election Question Time special on BBC1.

Under the National Service plan, which was announced by the PM at the start of the election campaign, every 18-year-old in the country would have to either join the military or spend one weekend a month carrying out a community service.

Presenter Fiona Bruce asked Sunak: “If national service is going to be compulsory how will you make people do it?”

The prime minister replied: “Well you’ll have a set of sanctions and incentives and we will look at the models that are existing around Europe to get the appropriate mix of those.”

Asked again what sanctions would be put in place, Sunak said there would be “a range of different options”.

Pressed a third time, he replied: “There’s all sorts of things that people do across Europe, whether that’s looking at driving licences, other access to finance, all sorts of other things.”

Lib Dem education spokesperson Munira Wilson said: “He is more interested in taking away young people’s bank accounts if they don’t do National Service than investing in their education.”

Sunak’s National Service plan has been beset with difficulties since he announced it, with confusion over how it will operate and even criticism of it from a Tory frontbencher.

Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker said the PM’s plan had been “sprung on” Tory candidates.

He said: “I don’t like to be pedantic but a government policy would have been developed by ministers on the advice of officials and collectively agreed.

“I would have had a say on behalf of NI. But this proposal was developed by a political adviser or advisers and sprung on candidates, some of whom are relevant ministers.”