§ Mr. Speller
asked the Secretary of State of Defence whether he plans a loan scheme to enable members of Her Majesty's Forces to purchase their own homes several years prior to retirement or completion of engagement.
§ Mr. Goodhart
The Armed Forces already have a number of assisted house purchase schemes which provide for an interest free advance of pay, up to a maximum limit of £3,500, for those eligible. In the Army and RAF such schemes are available to all those aged 50 or over within two years of retiring from a pensionable commission or engagement. For the Navy, because of its different housing policy, advances are available to all those aged 25 or over. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced on 2 December 1980, the need to keep defence expenditure within its cash limit has meant that proposed improvements to these schemes will not be introduced as quickly as we would have wished.