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UK General Election 2024 LIVE: Sunak gambles with £2.4 billion tax break to secure older voters

People who do not want to sign up for national service will not face criminal penalties, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said.

He told BBC Breakfast: “When it comes to national service I think this is a great idea. We are not the only ones bringing this up; it’s something that happens in Sweden, for example, where those young people who go through their version of what we’re proposing, 80% of them actually come out the other side saying they would recommend doing it to a friend.

“And I think this is a real opportunity for young people to have experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t have, to build friendships, to build skills, to build confidence. move on in their lives.”

He added that the armed forces element of the policy would “give the country additional resilience in a much more uncertain world”.

Mr Stride continued: “For example, there is no question of, as some have said, a criminal sanction and people being arrested and having to pay fines and all that.

“We will set up a royal commission that will examine what kind of incentives there should be for people to take part, and also what kind of sanctions might be appropriate for those who decide not to, and also what kind situations could mean that people would be exempt from that.”

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