HC Deb 04 November 2002 vol 392 cc54-5W
25. Linda Gilroy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the role of the service families taskforce. [76719]

Mr. Ingram

The service families taskforce was set up by the Government in 1999 to deal with service family issues that were outside the control of the Ministry of Defence. However, it is now the tri-Service focus for family issues, both internal and external. Representatives of service families meet a Minister twice a year to discuss the issues that are of concern to them. In addition, bilateral meetings are held with other Government Departments, as necessary, to discuss changes to any rules and regulations that are considered detrimental to, and discriminate against, service families.

Some are of progress by the Task Force over the last year are:

  1. (a) The new Adoption legislation has been amended to ensure that Service families will not be disadvantaged when overseas.
  2. (b) Legislative changes have been made to enable the Inland Revenue to pay Working Families Tax Credit to Service families on overseas postings.
  3. (c) We have resolved the problems that some Service spouses had encountered in claiming Child Support Agency payments when on an overseas posting.
  4. (d) As a result of discussions with the Department for Education and Skills, the new Code of Practice for School Admissions in England due for publication next year contains specific reference to Service families. This will assist the schools admissions process for their children.