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Armed Forces: Cadets

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of changes to funding for the Army Cadet Force on his Department’s fulfilment of its commitments under the Government’s Youth agenda. (296294)

[holding answer 28 October 2009]: The Ministry of Defence’s main effort is Afghanistan and in the very difficult financial climate hard decisions have had to be taken. This has resulted in a reduction to the funds available for this year to our Cadet Forces, and specifically to the Army Cadets. This decision has not been taken lightly.

The Department’s commitment to the Youth agenda remains undiminished as evidenced by our recent response to the Milburn Report where, despite the challenging financial situation, we have accepted in principle the recommendation to ensure that those state school pupils who wish to get involved in Cadets may do so. We are investigating innovative methods of extending cadet provision to state school pupils which include working closely with the Department for Children Schools and Families.

Financial constraints prevent the Government from meeting this recommendation in full, immediately. However this year, for example, we have delivered an additional six London Challenge Partnerships (Independent School CCFs offering Cadet places to neighbouring state school pupils) and the Air Cadet Organisation plans an annual expansion, targeted at state school pupils, of 700 cadets per year until 2018.