British Prime Minister: U.K. teens will be cut off from banks if they refuse national service
06/27/2024 // Belle Carter // Views

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently issued a warning to teenagers in the United Kingdom who refuse to take part in his controversial election promise of mandatory national service.

"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, adding that there are "all sorts of things" countries across Europe can do to ensure young people take part in mandatory national service. "Whether that is looking at driving licenses or their access to finance or all sorts of other things, that's the right thing to do," Sunak said.

Sunak threatened the draconian measures during an election "Question Time" special on BBC1. However, he so far failed to say how he will force young people to participate in the scheme, which would see them volunteer with community groups or join the armed forces.

Under the National Service plan, which was announced by the prime minister at the start of the election campaign last month, every 18-year-old in the country would have to either join the military or spend one weekend a month carrying out community service. Sunak insisted that the program would provide young people with life-changing opportunities and real-world skills and would help create a "shared sense of purpose among our young people and a renewed sense of pride in our country." National Service in the U.K., which was previously introduced during World War I and World War II, was ended in 1960.

A pilot version of the program is planned to be launched in September of next year if the Conservatives remain in power. It is expected to cost British taxpayers around £2.5 billion ($3.19 billion) a year. (Related: U.K. bringing back mandatory military service as Europe prepares for WAR with Russia.)

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The National Service is one of the key announcements made by the Tories during the general election campaign. The Tory manifesto promised a "year-long full-time placement in the armed forces or cyber defense" for 30,000 18-year-olds, while others will be forced to volunteer for one weekend each month with organizations such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The military service option promises to be "competitive and paid, so our armed forces recruit and train the brightest and the best." The policy is aimed at shoring up support among the older and more patriotic Conservative base. But the party has come unstuck since announcing the plans, with ministers repeatedly refusing to say how it will work and how 18-year-olds will be forced to take part.

Foreign office minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan even suggested parents could be punished on behalf of their children if the young ones refused to participate.

National Service re-introduction was drawn up in secret

According to the Daily Mail, the plan to reintroduce national service was drawn up in secret by Sunak and his close advisers.

In the confidential 40-page plan, the advisers argued that the growing international threats posed by countries such as Russia and China needed to be addressed by ramping up the U.K. Armed Forces as did the listlessness of many young adults. Nearly 750,000 18 to 24-year-olds are currently out of work and this age group is disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system.

The civic roles would include supporting flood defenses and communities during natural disasters, the U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS) support roles, fire safety work or signing up for the charity RNLI or Mountain Search and Rescue.

Meanwhile, Sunak's proposed scheme has already been heavily criticized by opposition parties. "This is not a plan. It is a review which could cost billions and is only needed because the Tories hollowed out the armed forces to their smallest size since Napoleon," a Labour spokesman stated last month. Other members of the opposition party have accused Sunak of trying to get 18-year-olds to fix the problems that the government has created.

Some critics point out that there are other areas that Sunak can improve. "This ill-thought-out conscription scheme will increase pressure on defense and waste money,” the former head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Lord West, who was first sea lord from 2002 to 2006, wrote, adding: "Rather than enhancing our defense capability, it would further reduce it."

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."

National Service in Europe varies from country to country. In Switzerland, men must serve for 21 weeks from the age of 19; in Denmark, Estonia and Finland, it is up to a year from 18. Norway is one of few places worldwide where women are also called up. Globally, around 85 countries have some form of obligatory military training. The longest period of required service is 11 years for North Korean men. contains stories related to governments' mandatory and tyrannical measures.

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