Campaign groups have warned that the UK is becoming "increasingly isolated" internationally in continuing to recruit people below the age of 18 into the armed forces.
A report by Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch found:
- It cost an estimated minimum of £88,985 to recruit and train each new soldier aged 16 to 17-and-a-half, compared with £42,818 for each adult recruit, including salary costs
- Initial training for minors lasted either 23 or 50 weeks, depending on the recruit's trade, but enlisting adults could complete the phase one course in 14 weeks
- The drop-out rate for minors was 36.6% compared with 28.3% for adults but under-18s who complete training are likely to serve for 10 years rather than the 7.6-year average for over-18s