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Armed Forces Covenant

Volume 688: debated on Monday 1 February 2021

As committed to in the Queen’s Speech, last week measures to further incorporate the armed forces covenant into legislation were introduced in the Armed Forces Bill. The Bill requires those public bodies in scope to consider the principles of the covenant when developing policy and making decisions in health, housing and education—areas that are fundamental to service life.

I thank my hon. Friend for his response, and I am very pleased with that support for the family, which is very much in the spirit of our military covenant. What duty will be applied to education, and what support measures are in place for the children of our military families to support their learning in schools both while the parent is serving and later when a veteran?

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for her tireless campaigning on this issue. Registered service children in the annual school census in England receive the £310 service pupil premium per child per year up to year 11. Since 2016, registered service children, even if their serving parent has left the armed forces, continue to receive the SPP for up to six years while they attend state schools in England.

One of the ways that enshrining the covenant in law could deliver more for our armed forces is on housing. Surveys continue to show low levels of satisfaction with maintenance, and the Government renegotiate the rents on some accommodation. Will the Minister provide an update on the arbitration process for Annington Homes, and can he assure those living in service family accommodation that he will not bring back a deal that hikes up their rent?

We are currently in the process, as the hon. Member knows, of resolution in that case, and I am not going to comment on it in a public forum, but my hon. Friend the Minister for Defence Procurement will write to him this afternoon.