§ Mr. Frank Field
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will detail for the last 10 years the cost of helping parents of service families defray the costs of places in private education of their children, whether through reimbursement of fees or other expenses, the rank of the serving parent or parents to which this help has been given and the cost of the scheme, classified in total and according to the rank of the serving parent or parents.
§ Mr. Lee
The cost of boarding school allowance for members of the Armed Forces for each of the last 10 years was as follows:
£ million 1976–77 29.00 1977–78 33.00 1978–79 32.00 1979–80 35.00 1980–81 42.30 1981–82 60.00 1982–83 66.30 1983–84 76.50 1984–85 78.00 1985–86 *83.85 * Estimated outturn.
The sums listed above also include payments to the parents of children attending boarding school run by local education authorities. It is not possible to provide a precise breakdown, but it is estimated that about one fifth of the 21,500 children for whom boarding school allowance is being drawn at present are attending such schools.
Boarding school allowance may be drawn by any member of the Armed Forces while serving on a regular commission or engagement and the rate of allowance is the same for all ranks. Information on the cost of the boarding school allowance scheme by rank cannot be provided since such a breakdown of expenditure is not maintained.