asked the Secretary of State for Defence what were the total amounts of boarding school allowances and overseas travelling expenses paid in 1979–80 in respect of the children of Ministry of Defence staff; and what were the number and percentages of staff taking up boarding school allowances in the Ministry of Defence, officers and other ranks, in 1979–80.
Final figures for the whole of 1979–80 are not yet available. Approximately 9,000 officers and 4,000 other ranks claim boarding school allowance at a current annual cost of about £35 million, which includes the cost of grossing up the allowance to cover the claimant's tax liability. Information as to the total number of Service men with children of boarding school age is not readily available, but the numbers of claimants represent respectively about 30 per cent. of the total number of married officers and 3 per cent. of the total number of married other ranks.The cost of overseas travel is not expected to vary significantly from the figure my hon. Friend gave on 16 January 1980 to the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price).