HC Deb 01 March 1996 vol 272 c746W
Mr. Luff

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to replace the married quarters discounted sale scheme for regular members of Her Majesty's armed forces; and if he will make a statement. [19077]

Mr. Arbuthnot

The purpose of the married quarters discounted sale scheme has been to assist service personnel into home ownership. It has been popular, but has over the years necessarily helped a relatively modest number of personnel. This, combined with the proposed sale of the married quarters estate, has resulted in consideration of a replacement scheme.

We now intend to replace the MQDSS with an interest-free advance of pay for house purchase which is based on the current scheme available in the Royal Navy. The replacement scheme will come into effect on 1 August 1996.

The scheme will allow us to target resources more effectively to assist retention. It will be available to all regular Army and RAF personnel aged 35 and over, on pensionable engagements or commissions. The advance will be a maximum of £8,500 and will be repayable over 10 years of service. The qualifying age for the Royal Navy scheme will reduce from 25 to 23 years.

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