HC Deb 04 July 1995 vol 263 cc134-5
12. Mr. Brandreth

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received following the publication of the Bett report; and if he will make a statement. [30566]

Mr. Soames

We have received a number of comments and questions from interested parties both inside and outside the armed forces. As we have said previously, we shall be giving the most careful and detailed consideration to all the report's recommendations before reaching any decisions.

Mr. Brandreth

In the light of the report and the consideration that my hon. Friend said the Government will give, will he consider putting a halt to the development of Kentigern house in Glasgow as simply an Army pay and personnel centre, and consider the establishment of a tri-service pay and personnel centre—possibly in a great historic city such as Chester, which has a proud services tradition?

Mr. Soames

I am grateful to my hon. Friend—as his constituents will be—for his vigorous lobbying on behalf of his constituents, but the establishment of the APPC in Glasgow will proceed as planned. Any decision to set up a defence agency, as presaged in the Bett report, would not in any way be adversely affected by the decision to go ahead. It is not inconsistent with that decision, and we must proceed if the Army's requirements are to be met on time.

Mr. Mackinlay

What representations has the Minister received about the privileged position enjoyed by the officers of our armed forces and their families—as distinct from the ordinary soldiers and service men and women—who enjoy the enormous benefit of having their children's boarding school fees paid to an extent in excess of £100 million a year? Is that not unfair to our other service men and women? Would it not be better for that money to be channelled into our state education system and to ensure that state schools in garrison towns had the benefit of that resource?

Mr. Soames


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