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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2005, Official Report, column 56W, on regimental uniforms, what the life expectancy is of each uniform; what the initial outfit allowance is for the (a) English, (b) Welsh and (c) Scottish Infantry regiments; when the last increase in initial outfit allowance was made; and what the previous allowance was.
An Officers' Outfit Allowance is awarded on commissioning to allow officers to purchase their first uniform. Officers joining the majority of English and Welsh infantry regiments receive the standard allowance of £2,122.
For those joining certain regiments the allowance is adjusted in line with the type, and therefore cost, of their uniform, which varies across the Infantry. Those English, Welsh and Scottish infantry regiments where the Officers' Outfit Allowance differs from the standard rate are the Foot Guards (£2,774), the Lowland Regiments (£2,057), the Highland Regiments (£2,510), the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the Parachute Regiment (both £2,032).
The Officers' Outfit Allowance was raised to its current level in 1994. Before this all newly commissioned officers into the infantry regiments received an allowance of £1,945 with the exception of those joining the Foot Guards (£2,706), the Lowland Regiments (£1,930) and the Highland Regiments (£2,330).
Officers' uniforms do not have a specific life expectancy as such. All uniforms are chosen on the basis that they are hard wearing and suitable for the tasks demanded of them. Officers are expected to keep their uniform in good order and maintain and replace accordingly. To do this an annual tax credit is awarded, based on the initial Outfit Allowance. This allows officers to purchase a new Service uniform approximately every five years.