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(3) how many Warrior armoured personnel carriers are allocated to each armoured infantry regiment in the British Army; and how many are off-road in each case. 
Mr. Ingram: The numbers of Challenger 2 tanks and Warrior armoured personnel carriers allocated to tank and armoured infantry regiments in the British Army and their availability are shown in the tables.
19 Jun 2002 : Column 337W
|Regiment||Allocated||Not fully operational|
|The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards||48||9|
|2nd Royal Tank Regiment||44||8|
|The Royal Dragoon Guards||44||16|
|The Queen's Royal Hussars||30||13|
|The Queen's Royal Lancers||54||18|
|The King's Royal Hussars||44||0|
|Battalion (Bn)||Allocated||Not fully operational|
|1st Bn The Irish Guards||53||7|
|1st Bn The Duke of Wellington's Regiment||44||22|
|1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers||54||3|
|1st Bn The Black Watch||53||13|
|1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Wales||18||0|
|1st Bn The Light Infantry||35||8|
|1st Bn The Staffordshire Regiment||39||3|
|1st Bn The King's Regiment||31||8|
|1st Bn The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment||39||14|
The overall totals for vehicle types are broadly in line with availability targets and, as shown in the following table, vehicle availability has improved significantly, particularly in the case of the Challenger 2, since the last return in December last year.
|% operational 31 December 2001||62||72||83|
|% operational 31 March 2002||76||79||80|
|% target availability||80||75||70|
19 Jun 2002 : Column 338W
Dassault Super Etendard
Douglas A-4K Skyhawk
General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
Grumman F-14 Tomcat
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
McDonnell Douglas AV8B Harrier II
McDonnell Douglas F-15, F-15C, F-15E Eagle
McDonnell Douglas F-18, CF-18 Hornet
North American F4 Phantom
Northrop F5 Freedom Fighter
|Aircraft type||Squadron number|
|Tornado F3||11, 25, 43, 111|
|Tornado GR1/4||2, 9, 12, 13, 14, 31, 617|
|Harrier GR7||1, 3, 4|
|Harrier FA2||800, 801, 899|
|Jaguar||6, 41, 54|
(3) what would be the total cost of individual educational allowances if each serviceman made use of it; 
(4) what the value is to an individual serviceman of the individual education allowance; 
(5) if he will make a statement about individual educational allowances for the armed services. 
Mr. Ingram: I assume that the hon. Member is referring to what is now known as the learning credits scheme. This scheme comprises two forms of allowance: standard learning credits and enhanced learning credits.
The standard learning credits scheme (SLC) was launched on 1 April 1999 and operates on similar lines to the individual refund scheme (IRS) it replaced, but its value, £175 per year, is 25 per cent. higher. Individuals must contribute at least 20 per cent. of the cost of any learning for which it is claimed. The SLC can, therefore, fund up to 80 per cent. of the cost of learning. This 80/20 split encourages development of individual understanding and buy-in to the learning process.
19 Jun 2002 : Column 339W
Both the SLC and the IRS which preceded it are applicable to a wide range of learning purposes in support of an individual's personal development. The only limitation is that the learning must have a benefit to the services, but, in practice, this still allows almost all forms of development. A representative list of the range of courses includes:
A-Levele.g. Law, Sociology, Economics
City and Guilds teaching certificates for basic skills
Book keeping and accounts
Human physiology and health
NVQs of all types
European computer driving licence
Microsoft Office user specialist
IT practitioner courses
Windows 2000 networking
|FY||Number of claimants||Trained strength of armed forces||Claimants as a percentage of trained strength|
(1) Army figures unavailable.
(2) Excludes Army.
The second part of learning credits, which will be known as enhanced learning credits (ELC), complements the SLC scheme and is due to be launched on 1 April 2004. This is an imaginative and large-scale initiative to provide partial funding for personnel wishing to undertake academic or vocational education for their own personal development. ELC will enable personnel to access a considerably higher level of sponsorship than SLC and is available for a maximum of three claims (one in each of three separate years which need not be consecutive) during a service person's career and for up to 10 years after leaving the service.
The ELC scheme requires a minimum period of service in order to qualify and there are two levels of claim depending on length of service. The initial qualification period is four years' service after which an individual can claim the lower tier level of funding (£1,000 pa). A further four years' service allows access to the higher tier of
19 Jun 2002 : Column 340W
funding (£2,000 pa). As with the SLC scheme, an individual must show commitment to learning by funding at least 20 per cent. of the overall cost.
The enhanced learning credit scheme will enable the individual to make substantial plans for self improvement in a coherent and long-term fashion and will also encourage employing officers to factor major lifelong learning activities into a subordinate's personal development plan. This will have a positive effect on retention of personnel who wish to lay the foundations for success in their second career while maximising their military potential.
Based on the strength of the armed forces on 1 April 2002 (204,686) and the maximum available credit (£175) the total cost of SLC if every service person were to apply would be some £36 million. However, this does not take account of personnel on operations or already in intensive training who would be unlikely to claim; moreover, it does not reflect the historical take-up of the SLC scheme. Taking this into account, and using the latest figures in the table, a more realistic total cost would be some £4 million.
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