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Armed Forces: Lifelong Education

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 25 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) level of uptake and (b) cost was of the (i) standard learning credits scheme and (ii) enhanced learning credits scheme for (A) officers and (B) other ranks in each year since 1997. (158382)

The information is not held in the format requested in that records are not readily available by rank for either scheme, financial data about the Standard Learning Credits (SLC) Scheme is only kept to hand for the past five full financial years, and the first payments under the Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) Scheme were only available from 1 April 2004. The full data requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

SLC Scheme

The total service uptake and expenditure of the SLC Scheme for the last five years is provided in the following table:

Financial year

Number of claims

Strength

Percentage take up

Total spent (£ million)

2002-03

24,888

181,700

13.7

3.035

2003-04

29,748

182,700

16.3

3.504

2004-05

28,020

184,500

15.1

3.475

2005-06

28,452

182,800

15.6

3.336

2006-07

26,629

178,300

14.9

2.800

ELC Scheme

Prior to 1 April 2004 a total of 177,534 personnel registered for the ELC Scheme.

Personnel only become eligible to claim ELC after accruing a minimum of four years service post their initial registration on the scheme. It would be misleading to express take-up as a percentage of registered personnel for such a demand-led scheme where, once eligible, personnel can make up to a maximum of three claims, no more than one per annum, at any time during their career or for up to 10 years after leaving the Service. The table below shows the number of additional registrations, the number of claims authorised and the value of those claims in the three financial years the scheme has been operating:

Financial year

Number of additional registrations

Number of claims authorised

Total spent (£ million)

2004-05

19,893

4,632

3.630

2005-06

14,962

6,125

5.044

2006-07

14,882

6,570

5.645