HC Deb 24 January 1978 vol 942 cc1165-6
10. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to relieve local education authorities of the cost of providing boarding education for Service personnel.

Dr. Gilbert

Through the boarding school allowance, the Ministry of Defence already makes available financial assistance towards the cost of residential education of children of Service personnel.

Mr. Hughes

Does my right hon. Friend still not agree that a good deal of expenditure is borne by local education authorities and, therefore, by ratepayers? Should not this fall wholly on the defence budget?

Dr. Gilbert

I cannot accept what my hon. Friend says. Grants made by local authorities are discretionary and are in the nature of topping-up grants to cover the gap between the boarding school allowance and the actual cost of board ing school education. Quite a lot of local authorities make no such grants.

Mr. Viggers

Will the right hon. Gentleman remind his hon. Friend that boarding school education is available to the children of all ranks and is a necessary part of Service life?

Dr. Gilbert

I quite agree.

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