London, Oct 19 : Britain's military top brass receives nearly 100 million pound a year in special allowances and benefits, with almost 87 million pound of that spent on paying for private school fees for their children.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that, in the last financial year, 86.8 million pound was spent on private education for officers' children, The Independent reported.
Relatives of British service personnel killed in combat as a result of equipment failures reacted angrily to the news that senior officers enjoy such benefits while troops on the ground struggle with inadequate kit.
In the RAF alone, 1 million pound was spent on chauffeurs, 3.4 million pound on waiters and waitresses in officers' messes and a further 800,000 pound on bar staff.
Chefs dedicated to serving senior officers cost another 2.8 million pound a year. This adds another 8 million pound to the bill, bringing the known total spent on special privileges to at least 95 million pound.
The Defence Ministry argues that the children of all service personnel are eligible for the Continuity of Education Allowance, which reimburses up to 90 per cent of school fees.
But ministers are so concerned about this system that the Defence Minister Kevan Jones has ordered a review.
The department is now considering staff support based on a percentage of their salaries. "It was clear that the higher ranks were benefiting significantly from this scheme," a senior MoD source said.
The revelations come at a time of chronic staff and equipment shortages across the military. Just last week the MoD was again criticised by a coroner for failing to supply basic equipment that he said could have saved a soldier's life.
Corporal Mark Wright, 27, died after a mine exploded while he attempted to help an injured colleague trapped in a minefield in September 2006.
A helicopter with a winch was not available to rescue the pair. A Chinook without a winch was sent, but it could not land, and the "downwash" triggered the explosion.