The Ministry of Defence has denied the report in today's Times that married soldiers living in Army accommodation will be forced out of their homes under "cost-cutting proposals" being considered by the MOD, as part of the New Employment Model (NEM). The Ministry does not, however, appear to deny that reducing the entitlement to service housing is one of the "range of options" under consideration.
From the Times story 'Families to lose homes under new defence cuts' (subscription required), by Deirdre Hipwell and Deborah Haynes:
"Married soldiers living in Army accommodation will be forced out of their homes under cost-cutting proposals being considered by the Ministry of Defence.
The move, which would lead to thousands of people from the Armed Forces being driven into the commercial property market, is part of a plan to reduce Services accommodation under a "New Employment Model".
It indicates a potential shift away from the tradition of encouraging soldiers to move with ease around the country and overseas with their spouses and children.
Subsidised military housing for those with families is a career-long entitlement and has been referred to as a "staunch pillar" of the military covenant that the coalition has pledged to uphold. The MoD is discussing ending the right to a home after eight years of service.
One former head of the Army said that he understood the need to reduce the bill for accommodation, but that additional funds must be made available to buy or rent private property with ease.
If not, the MoD risked creating a system of "weekly boarders". "It is not the right way to be. We have enough forced separation through deployment and training exercises," General Lord Dannatt said....
A final deadline has yet to be agreed, but The Times understands that cutting the housing entitlement to around eight to ten years of service is regarded as the preferred option. Afterwards, military families would have to find accommodation themselves."
The MoD has responded that::
"This is not the case. The New Employment Model is looking at a range of measures connected with provision of support to our Service personnel from 2020, including accommodation.
Any option would maintain the importance of publicly-provided accommodation as part of overall Service terms and conditions. No decisions have been taken and a report is due for consideration by the Defence Board this summer.
In the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Government made a commitment to develop a New Employment Model (NEM) for Service personnel. The MOD has set up a ten-year programme to develop this and recognises that the current employment model for Service personnel has not changed much in the last 40 years and requires improving to better meet the needs of today's modern Armed Forces. The NEM aims to promote greater stability in Service life balanced against the requirement to deliver operational capability."
About the New Employment Model (NEM)
The New Employment Model (NEM) is being developed within the Ministry of Defence as "an employment model that delivers the required people component of Operational Capability that is affordable and supports the aspirations of Service Personnel". The NEM project teams are due to report in the Autumn of 2012. For more information see MoD web page at Defence - New Employment Model.