The Daily Telegraph reports that State funding for the children of Armed Forces personnel to attend independent schools is at risk from last-minute cuts in the defence budget. While CEA is a major expenditure item about which there is inevitably a range of views amongst our serving members and supporters, the Telegraph story is a welcome corrective to some recent media reporting of CEA as no more than a "lavish perk" of "pampered military chiefs".
From the Telegraph story:
Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, is locked in eleventh-hour budget talks with the Treasury before next week's spending review. Sources said Dr Fox will almost certainly be forced to cut the schooling allowance as a result of cuts in his budget.
Cutting the Continuity of Education Allowance would cause huge anger among Armed Forces personnel, especially the long-serving staff who make most use of it.
But Dr Fox has warned the Treasury that unless it scales back his cuts, he will have no choice but to cut the scheme.
The Ministry of Defence spent £172.8 million on the allowance last year. It was claimed by approximately 6,000 Armed Forces personnel.
One senior defence source said: "No one is any doubt – cutting the allowance will cause absolute fury among our people. But there's a fairly simple answer: if they give us the money, we won't have to do it."
The allowance is sometimes derided as an officer's perk, but all members of the Armed Forces are eligible for the scheme.
It allows children to attend the same school in the UK even as their parents move from posting to posting around the world.
Most – but not all – of those who claim the money are officers. The latest figures show that 2,480 claimants were "other ranks", ranging from privates to senior non-commissioned officers.
Any reduction in the allowance would be fiercely resisted by many Armed Forces personnel and families. ...
- Daily Telegraph story in full, by James Kirkup: Armed Forces' education allowance facing cuts