Britain is investigating reports of affirmative action in its air force

An RAF spokesman said operational effectiveness was of paramount importance. (File)

London:

All reports of affirmative action in the United Kingdom (UK) Royal Air Force (RAF) will be investigated, Minister of State at the UK Defense Ministry James Heappey said on Saturday.

Earlier, British media, citing informed sources, reported that the RAF was holding back recruitment of white men to meet ethnic minority and women diversity goals. “No Minister of Defense or head of any service may break the law. So if there is evidence of affirmative action, those responsible will be vigorously held accountable,” James Heappey told Sky News.

He confirmed that the ministry had urged the armed forces to consider affirmative action to improve diversity in the workplace, but said the lowering of standards and the operational impact were unacceptable.

“What is definitely not true is that white male recruitment is being disrupted in any way. It is definitely not true that women and ethnic minorities are now being invited to courses while white men are not,” the minister added.

Sky News reported that the head of RAF recruitment resigned earlier this week in protest at the achievement of “impossible” diversity targets for the current year.

The UK government set a recruitment target for all armed forces in 2015 to achieve 10% recruits from ethnic minorities and 15% female recruits by 2020. In March 2021, the RAF announced they had exceeded that target, reaching 20% ​​of female recruits, which was impossible to verify according to RAF statistics, which showed they only recruited 18.5% of females and no data on ethnic minorities, Sky News reported, citing military forces.

An RAF spokesman responded to the allegations that operational effectiveness was of paramount importance to the armed forces and that standards had never been lowered.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated feed.)

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