Defence Questions: 20th October 2014

Fiona Bruce (Congleton) (Con)
T2. To return to cadet forces, the excellent Sandbach school in my constituency has run a popular combined cadet force since 1948. The head teacher, Sarah Burns, has told me that the leadership and life skills it develops are particularly positive for the most disadvantaged pupils who attend. It is a vital part of community life, but proposed funding changes threaten its future. May I add my voice to those urging the Minister to review these plans? [905504]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Anna Soubry)
I thank my hon. Friend not just for her question, but for her letter. I have seen letters from various schools in her constituency, and I note that a large number of them are state schools with existing CCFs. It would not be our plan at all to threaten any existing CCF, and we will do everything we can to ensure that that does not happen. However, we have to look at a good funding solution for our expansion programme, which is exactly—with a new Secretary of State—why we have consulted on it.

 
Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con)
T3. In May, I joined North West Leicestershire district council in signing up to the armed forces community covenant. Will the Minister update the House on how many councils have now signed up to the covenant, and what assessment her Department has made of the resulting benefits to members of the armed forces and their families? [905505]
 
Anna Soubry
I am pleased to say that all local authorities have now signed up to the covenant. We must now make sure that everybody delivers on it. If I may say so, it is beholden on councillors and, indeed, MPs to make sure that we now see real delivery at local level and put the covenant into practice so that none of our service personnel and their families, or indeed our veterans, suffers any disadvantage because of their service.

Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe) (Lab)
Given their localism rhetoric, why have the Government ignored their published guidance on the disposing of assets at market value to public authorities that express an interest in acquiring them in the case of Kirton in Lindsey air base?
 
Anna Soubry
I am aware of that issue. In fact, I have just signed a letter to the hon. Gentleman. I am more than happy to meet him to discuss the future and what has happened.