Axe for Army recruitment centre after outsourcing of services to private firm

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AN ARMY recruitment centre in a Yorkshire town which has provided generations of new soldiers across various conflicts is to be closed after defence chiefs outsourced services to a private company.

The Yorkshire Post has learned that the main recruitment centre in Barnsley is to be closed in June after the Army recruitment contract for the region was outsourced to a firm called Capita by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) last month.

It is understood that the centre will stop recruiting soldiers from April 18 before services are transferred to Doncaster and Sheffield.

Yesterday the MoD and the firm refused to disclose any other proposed recruitment centre closures in the region.

But with defence chiefs are aiming to slash tens of thousands of soldier posts from the Army over the coming years a Capita spokeswoman admitted: “Clearly there will be a reduction”.

Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP for Barnsley who spent 15 years as a paratrooper serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “I am very concerned about this outsourcing of recruitment.

“The main worry is that people from the private sector are going to be providing advice.

“Would-be recruits need the advice that only somebody who is already serving or who has recently served can provide.”

Barnsley is traditionally a hotbed of Army recruitment.

An MoD spokeswoman said: “No final decisions have yet been taken. There is likely to be a reduction in recruiting centres, but it would not be appropriate to comment on where these proposed closures are until affected staff have been informed as part of a wider consultation process.

“These changes will help modernise Army recruiting and deliver significant savings to the tax payer over 10 years.”