UK PM Announces One Year of National Service for all 18-Year-Olds

11.07.2023. VILNIUS, LITHUANIA. Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, during doorstep at NATO SUMMIT 2023

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in late May proposed a plan to bring back National Service as a way to restore the British people’s “sense of pride in our country.”

Great Britain introduced National Service in 1949 requiring all physically fit men ages 17-21 to serve in the military. Initially, men were required to serve 18 months but the duration was expanded to two years in 1950.

Following active service, men remained on the list of reserves for another four years during which they could be called back to service a maximum of three times.

The UK discontinued National Service in 1960, with the final servicemen leaving the program in 1963.

Under the prime minister’s proposed plan, teenagers – both male and female – would be given the option of enlisting in the armed forces or cyber defense for a year or volunteering for community service.

Those who choose community service would have to commit to 25 days a year (or one weekend a month) to working as volunteers for community organizations like the police, fire department, NHS, or charities to support the elderly or shut-ins.

Rishi’s plan would not exempt members of the Royal Family.

Sunak said the National Service proposal would give young people work experience in various fields including public service, healthcare, charitable work, and the military.

The Conservative Party is proposing establishing a Royal Commission made up of experts from civil society groups and the armed forces to develop the National Service program.

Once implemented, the plan would cost £2.5 billion annually, with part of the funds coming from cracking down on tax evasion and the rest coming from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which provides funding to local communities.

In announcing the plan, Prime Minister Sunak said National Service would generate “a shared sense of purpose” for young Brits while renewing a “sense of pride in our country.”