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Departmental Staff

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which (a) independent and (b) maintained educational institutions accommodate pupils and students receiving the boarding school allowance granted to employees of his Department; how many pupils at each institution received the allowance in each of the last three years for which figures are available and at what cost; and if he will make a statement. (110399)

The information requested is as follows:

Children of service personnel

The children of service personnel who benefit from service education allowances attend a considerable number of educational establishments. A list of those educational establishments that accommodated children of service personnel in receipt of education allowances in academic years 2005-06 and 2006-07 has been placed in the Library of the House. The figures were completed as at the spring term for both of these years. The Department does not have these details for 2004-05.

The cost of education allowances in the past three years is as follows:

£ million

2003-04

86.4

2004-05

90.7

2005-06

93.6

The estimated cost for 2006-07 is £100 million.

The Ministry of Defence records the number of service claimants, the number of children benefiting from service education allowances and the educational establishments they attend. The Department does not have figures that identify the cumulative value of service education allowances which, via service claimants, benefit each individual educational establishment. Also, the number of service children benefiting from education allowances does not indicate the number of service claimants, as one service parent might claim for one or more children.

Children of civil service personnel

Eligible Ministry of Defence civil servants can claim a tax free schooling allowance for children attending fee paying schools overseas or at independent schools in the UK. The annual cost in the UK for 2005-06 is around £1.1 million. However, as claims for the allowance overseas are reimbursed by local budgets, there is no central record of such costs and the total figure could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

As with the services, the number of children of civil servants benefiting from schooling allowances does not indicate the number of civil servant claimants, as one parent may claim for one or more children. The figure is estimated to be in the region of 100 children.