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Armed Forces: Private Education

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on education in independent schools for the families of members of the armed forces in each of the last 12 years. (321669)

[holding answer 11 March 2010]: Details are only held for financial years 2007-08 and 2008-09. Financial information for earlier years prior to the implementation of the Joint Personnel Administration System is held on single service legacy systems, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

In the armed forces, the allowance paid to service personnel to fund the education of their children in independent schools is known as the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA). The purpose of the CEA is to allow children of armed forces personnel to achieve a stable education against a background of frequent parental postings both at home, and overseas.

In financial year 2007-08, the total cost to the Ministry of Defence was £162,189,373. This includes tax and national insurance on the benefit paid to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs by the Department on behalf of individuals. In financial year 2008-09, the total cost to the MOD was £172,844,735.

Limits apply in respect of the amount that can be claimed per school term by the service person, and all claims are subject to a parental minimum contribution of 10 per cent. per child, per term.