Graham Evans (Grouped with question by Robert Buckland MP): What plans he has to increase employment opportunities for the spouses of armed forces personnel.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Anna Soubry): We know that one of the most important factors in enabling spouses to enter employment is making sure that good child care provision is available at a good cost. In addition to the measures that the Government have taken to help all workers, I am pleased to tell the House that £20 million of the LIBOR funding announced by the Chancellor in the autumn will specifically go to help the provision of child care facilities for service families, particularly the infrastructure. We also have a number of excellent schemes to encourage people to go into employment and to support them to set up their own businesses, as well, of course, as the corporate covenant.
Graham Evans: As a graduate of the excellent Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, I have had the privilege of learning about all aspects of military life, including the ability to settle in one location thus enabling military spouses to find and to keep down regular employment. What estimates has my hon. Friend made about whether the return of British troops from Germany will help increase the opportunity for spousal employment in the future?
Anna Soubry: That is a good question. We believe that the return of units from Germany offers a major opportunity for more service families to lead more stable lives, and we also know that that is important. It is vital that Government, local authorities, employers, the Army and the other services work together and plan carefully. A good case in point is the great work that is being undertaken by Rutland county council and its partners. Let me give one quick example of that. Its latest initiative is to hold a job fair at Kendrew barracks next month.