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Armed Forces: Families

Volume 489: debated on Thursday 19 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent steps his Department has taken to assist service families. (263455)

[holding answer 16 March 2009]: Following the publication of the Nation’s Commitment: Cross Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans, the MOD has continued to work with other Departments and the devolved administrations to deliver the commitments made. To address problems caused by mobility, the Government have increased recognition for service children in the Schools Admissions Code, ensured that families on NHS waiting lists will not be disadvantaged by service moves and given service spouses and partners early access to new deal to help them stay in employment.

A number of measures have been introduced to help service families access accommodation. Priority status for affordable housing schemes has been extended to service families in England, Scotland and Wales and to injured personnel for access to adapted affordable housing schemes; both remain for 12 months after leaving the service to help transition to civilian life. Service families applying for social housing on leaving the service will now be treated on a par with civilians in the area that they are serving.

The MOD and single services have increased by 20 per cent. the number of specialist welfare support staff over the last year, doubled the grant to help units support families of deployed personnel and provided better internet access and cheaper telephone minutes to deployed personnel.