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22 Jul 08:20

About our National Service news

Latest news on the Conservative Party's national service plan for 18-year-olds in the UK, covering the scheme's key aspects, criticisms, funding, and potential impact on young people, society, and the military.

The Conservative Party has pledged to introduce a mandatory national service scheme for 18-year-olds if they win the general election on 4 July 2024. Under the plan, young people would have to participate in either a year-long military placement or 25 days of community volunteering over a 12-month period.

The proposal has sparked controversy, with critics labelling it a "desperate gimmick" lacking viable funding. Home Secretary James Cleverly defended the plan, arguing it would address societal fragmentation and get young people out of their "bubbles". However, concerns have been raised about the scheme's practicality and its potential strain on the military, which has seen troop numbers cut under the Conservatives.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has doubled down on the plan, urging employers to prioritise job applicants who have completed the military placements. The Tories say the £2.5bn annual cost would be partially funded by diverting £1.5bn from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which was meant to replace EU funding for deprived regions post-Brexit, with the remainder coming from a crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion.

The idea of reviving national service, which was abolished in the UK in 1960, has been met with scepticism from opposition parties, military figures, and even some within the Conservative Party. Critics argue that the scheme fails to address young people's real needs, such as access to housing, higher education, and well-paying jobs.

As the election campaign continues, the national service plan remains a key talking point, with voters and experts debating its merits, feasibility, and potential impact on the UK's youth, armed forces, and society as a whole. The NewsNow feed aims to provide comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of this contentious issue from a wide range of reliable sources, helping readers stay informed about the latest developments and perspectives on the Conservative Party's flagship policy proposal.

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