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Boarding School Allowance

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the accessibility of the boarding school allowance to (i) other ranks and (ii) officers; whether such research took account of (A) ability to pay the fees and (B) the retirement age of officers and other ranks; and if he will make a statement. (93535)

The recently published report on the Defence Committee inquiry “Educating Service Children” (HC1054 published 6 September 2006) has recommended research be conducted on the take-up of continuity of education allowance. The formal Government response to this report will be made shortly. I refer the hon. Member to the Third Memorandum from the MOD made to the Committee for their inquiry (HC1054 Ev77-78). This includes background on why the demographic profile of service personnel by age, rank and length of service will have an impact on take-up and explains that it may be more meaningful to consider the age of a child and their stage of education rather than the age/rank profile of a service person.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many children have been covered by the boarding school allowance for the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force in each of the last five years, broken down by officers and other ranks; and if he will make a statement. (93536)

The information requested is shown in the following table:

Numbers of service children covered by continuity of education allowance as at spring term of each academic year

Service

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Navy

1,281

1,326

1,357

1,435

1,377

Army

4,383

4,356

4,405

4,374

4,289

RAF

1,466

2,255

2,219

2,220

2,220

Total

7,130

7,937

7,981

8,029

7,886

The above data cannot be separated out into officers and other ranks due to disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent on boarding school allowance for the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force in each of the last five years, broken down by officers and other ranks; and if he will make a statement. (93537)

The sum paid annually in respect of service education allowances by the MOD, broken down by single-service is shown in the following table:

Total spend on service education allowances for the last five years

£

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Navy

17,588,014

12,781,113

13,002,607

16,278,396

16,878,279

Army

37,450,741

37,754,069

49,046,403

49,840,780

51,004,877

RAF

16,388,267

22,515,029

24,381,279

24,653,301

25,813,795

Total

71,438,022

73,050,211

86,429,289

90,772,477

93,696,951

The above data cannot be separated out into officers and other ranks.