The Ministry of Defence is thinking about how it provides service personnel with accommodation in the future, whether they are single, in a relationship or married. This follows 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) commitment to make a new accommodation offer to help more personnel live in private accommodation and meet their aspirations for home ownership.
The Future Accommodation Model is still at an early stage. No decisions have been finalised, and the details are likely to change.
Why accommodation provision might change
The current accommodation offer:
Is not equally attractive to all
The current model does not support how all service personnel might choose to live, forcing some service personnel to opt out of subsidised accommodation and others to compromise on family life. For example, parents in a long term relationship are not able to live together as a family in MOD provided accommodation unless they enter into marriage or a civil partnership. In addition, rank is prioritised over need when allocating homes contributing towards a lack of choice for personnel over where they can live and the type of home they can live in.
Is unsustainable for the future
Simply widening the number of people who are entitled to service family accommodation (SFA) is unaffordable, as the MOD would be required to build a large number of new houses. In addition, the SDSR has committed us to changing the locations of forces across the UK.
Relocation often means the MOD has to build accommodation quickly, meaning it is more expensive. Under the current model, we must also continuously maintain empty properties to enable operational flexibility. Reducing these costs will help to ensure that money is invested in meeting the future needs of our armed forces.
The Future Accommodation Model’s aims
The Future Accommodation Model aims to address these issues by giving more choice, providing financial support for personnel to live close to their MOD place of work or to keep their family stable in a location of their choosing by purchasing a home.
There are some important principles which underpin the Future Accommodation Model:
the Future Accommodation Model will not reduce the total pot of money currently used to subsidise housing
today accommodation is provided to personnel based on their rank and relationship status; the accommodation allowance of tomorrow will be provided based on their need, regardless of age, rank or relationship status
personnel would be supported financially to live in the house they choose, in the place they choose and with the people they choose; this could mean living with a partner, whether married or not, with children from a current or previous relationship, or friends inside or outside the service; more families would be able to live together and balance this with a military career
the MOD would also offer support and advice to those service personnel taking up private market rental accommodation; some personnel will require a higher level of support, and the MOD is developing a package to address this
the rental allowance would be adjusted so that no one loses out if they are required to work in more expensive areas
The Future Accommodation Model survey presented a number of options. Following your feedback we are now refining the policy and will update once this work is complete.
Who the Future Accommodation Model applies to
The Future Accommodation Model will apply both to personnel with families and those without, whether they are single, in a relationship or married. It will not be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, it will apply to service personnel in mainland Britain, but which options are available to who is still to be decided and will depend in part on location. The MOD is currently focusing on designing FAM in the United Kingdom. How we apply this model to overseas accommodation is currently being considered.
When the Future Accommodation Model might happen
The Future Accommodation Model is a complex project and it will take until the end of 2016 to undertake full consultation and make all the key design decisions. If the Future Accommodation Model gains approval, it would be implemented gradually with a pilot commencing in a few years’ time.