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Reserve and Cadet Forces

Volume 586: debated on Monday 20 October 2014

9. What assessment he has made of the contribution of armed forces community covenants to the reserves and cadet forces. (905522)

The Government have committed £30 million over four years to fund a range of community integration projects. That work helps to deliver a network of support for our armed forces community, whether regular, reservist, serving or veteran. Full details and accountability will be provided in the annual report on the covenant.

I am grateful to the Minister for her reply. I recently visited the Hereford and Worcester Army Cadet Force at their base in Tiddesley Wood, and a very impressive bunch they are too. Will she join me in commending the decision of the regional grant committee of the armed forces community covenant partnership to fund a new shooting range for those cadets, which I understand will also be available to local reservists?

I absolutely will not hesitate to commend it and point out that it received a grant of about £70,000. I understand that a further £6,000 has been made available in Worcestershire and Herefordshire for booklets to help ensure that all our service families and personnel know about the services available to them. That is another good example of some great work being done under this Government.

Will the Minister look again at proposals to charge schools to use the combined cadet force? Llanwern high school in my constituency is one of only three state schools in Wales that has a CCF. I know how much the pupils value it and how much they get out of the experience, but state schools will find it impossible to make the financial contribution when they are contributing in other hidden ways.

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question. It is important to understand that that is part of expanding our CCFs into all state schools. In fact, we have made great progress on that and anticipate that 100 new CCFs will be ready in September next year. However, it is a consultation and I know that there are concerns. I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her comments and we will listen to everything that is said.