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Cadet Forces

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 24 September 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what financial contribution his Department has made to the (a) Army, (b) Sea and (c) Air cadets for each of the last five financial years; what is the figure for the current year; what is the projected figure for the next financial year; and if he will make a statement. [16928]

The Ministry of Defence's financial contribution in support of Army, Sea and Air cadets during each of the last five financial years is shown below. Also shown, although not specifically requested, is similar detail in respect of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF). Figures given are in £ million.

Army Cadets(ACF)n/a20.922.223.428.0
Sea Cadets(SCC)
Air Cadets(ATC)16.117.618.319.817.5

Expenditure in current year: Forecast expenditure in Financial Year 1997–98 (£) is:

£ million

(a) ACF


(b) SCC


(c) ATC


(d) CCF


Projected funding for next financial year: The allocation of funds for the next financial year will be determined as part of the MOD's long term costing, which is the process by which the Department recosts and adjusts its internal plans. The Department's internal plans represent projections and assumptions, which inform advice to Ministers on the affordability of particular elements of the defence programme and it has been the policy of successive Governments not to publish detailed information arising from this. Accordingly, I am withholding the information requested in the third part of the question which constitutes internal discussion and advice, under exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government information.

Minister's Statement: In February 1997, when in opposition, I addressed the Royal United Services Institute. When considering the question of re-fostering links between military and civilian society I made the following comments in respect of cadet forces:

"… cadet forces are, in my view, perhaps the most under-utilised of all in reaching their true potential of civil utility, particularly in offering opportunities for self-development, initiative, character building and leadership qualities among our young people, many of whom are forced by circumstances into blind alleys".

Whilst it would be inappropriate to comment upon future funding levels whilst the Strategic Defence Review work progresses, I can confirm that the Government's commitment to cadet forces, as a major national youth organisation, remains undiminished. Their value both to the civilian community and to our Regular and Reserve Forces is acknowledged, and they will receive our continued support.