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Christmas (Family Support)

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 19th December 2011.

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Photo of Oliver Colvile Oliver Colvile Conservative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport 2:30 pm, 19th December 2011

What support his Department is providing to the families of service personnel during the Christmas period.

Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

We aim to provide the highest level of welfare support to the families of deployed service personnel throughout the year. In addition, local commanders are able to use the family welfare grant to support families with funding for gatherings, children's Christmas events, day trips, pantomimes and coffee mornings. For example, 20th Armoured Brigade has set aside some £16,000 for that purpose. Unit welfare staff will remain on hand to provide help and support throughout the Christmas period.

Photo of Oliver Colvile Oliver Colvile Conservative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

Earlier today, the military wives choir, which is based in my constituency, released its “Wherever you are” single, which I for one very much hope will be the Christmas No. 1. Will my right hon. Friend be willing to join me in urging the Treasury to give the VAT proceeds to its nominated charities, the British Legion and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association?

Photo of Nick Harvey Nick Harvey The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

I very much endorse the enthusiastic welcome that my hon. Friend has given the military wives choir, which comprises constituents both from his Plymouth constituency and my North Devon constituency. We wish it well with its “Wherever you are” single released today and hope that it will be the Christmas No. 1. Matters of VAT must be addressed to the Chancellor.