5-speed listening (National Service - Level 3)

UK leader wants national service for 18-year-olds



Medium (British English)

Medium (N. American English)



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The UK leader has a plan to introduce national service for 18-year-olds. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says he will introduce compulsory national service if his party wins the UK election on July the 4th. Under his plan, young people will have two choices when they become 18. The first choice is to spend one year in the army, navy or air force. The government thinks about 30,000 people will choose to do this. The second option is to do voluntary work for one weekend a month. This means volunteering to work with Britain's National Health Service, ambulance service, fire service, or in local communities. Mr Sunak said young people will gain valuable skills, and help to "build a stronger national culture".

Rishi Sunak's plan has been attacked by many people. Various experts say it is too expensive, and that the UK does not have enough staff to train 30,000 army volunteers. Many defence experts say the idea is unworkable. Admiral Alan West, a former navy head, said: "I'm delighted if more young people become aware of defence…but this idea is…bonkers." He believes the government needs to spend more money on defence. He says national service will "suck" money out of defence. Many young people disagree with the plan. They believe it takes away their freedom. However, one 17-year-old said it will give many young people a purpose. She said national service works well in dozens of countries.

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