National Service Bill Prompts 30,000 To Sign Petition Against It

A petition opposing a bill to reintroduce compulsory national service has been signed by over 30,000 people.

The proposed legislation - sponsored by Tory MP Philip Hollobone - would make it mandatory for anyone aged 18-26 to spend a year doing charity work, caring for the elderly or serving in the armed forces.

Individuals would be paid the minimum wage and would be required to live away from home although accommodation and food would be paid for by the state.

Non-military options would be available

There would be exemptions for anyone with a severe physical or mental disability.

The National Service Bill has caused considerable outrage and a petition to have it discarded continues to draw signatures.

Those signing state they do not support the "mandatory conscription or service in to any system that requires them by law to submit to training or residential activity".

It adds: "It is unacceptable to force any person to engage in training that has mandatory residential elements, military training and or actual service in the military without the ability to refuse, without placing themselves in a position of having to break the law and gaining a criminal record."

Hollobone believes the bill would have "immense benefit" on the young people of Britain.

Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering

He told the Independent: "I believe that the introduction of a modern form of national service would prove popular with the public."

The bill aims to provide young people with "instruction in personal financial budgeting, household bills, nutrition, cooking, time keeping, life skills, tolerance towards others, treating elderly and disabled people with dignity and respect".

Hollobone however, sceptical of its chances of becoming law.

He said: "Unfortunately, the arcane nature of parliamentary procedures surrounding private member’s bills and the lack of time they have for debate will mean that the merits and demerits of the Bill are unlikely to be debated and voted upon."

National Service was scrapped in 1960.

Back in 2010 David Cameron proposed a similar - though non-mandatory - scheme called National Citizen Service.

Described as "a kind of non-military national service” it is open to 16 and 17-year-olds and aims to provide a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity... that helps you build your skills for work and life, while you take on new challenges and meet new friends."

Youth unemployment currently remains stubbornly high with nearly a million people out of work.

The second reading of the bill will be on February 28, 2014.