LAST week, Chief of Defence People Lieutenant General Richard Nugee wrote a letter to all Service personnel explaining the reasons behind the proposed move to the Future Accommodation Model.
Whilst AFF welcomes the opportunity to move towards a housing system that reflects the modern Army family, we are concerned that the move to significantly reduce SFA and replace it with a series of allowances to help buy or rent properties will adversely affect Army families.
We will soon release the results of our AFF Big Survey 2016: the future of military housing, which had more than 8,000 respondents, demonstrating just how important the issue of housing is to Army families and why their views and concerns must be listened to.
“I know that the provision of Service accommodation is a very important issue for many of us – when our personnel deploy around the country and the world, it is vitally important that they know that they and their families will be helped to find a home.
“And affordable and good quality accommodation must be available for all our Service personnel. This is central to the offer to Service personnel now, and will continue to be so in the future.
“But I also know that there is more that can be done to improve the current situation, which is why we are thinking about how we provide our people with accommodation in the future.
“Currently, if you are married or in a civil partnership, we will find you a place on the patch, but you have little control over the size, condition and location of your home. If you are not married or not in a civil partnership, you are provided with a bed-space or a single room.
“There are many of you for whom this doesn’t work: if you are divorced and want a home to allow your children to stay at weekends; if you are in a long-term relationship; or if you have caring responsibilities for a relative. Indeed, many of you might want more choice for all sorts of reasons. And while you might be willing to pay more for that choice, the current system simply doesn’t allow it.
“Extending both choice and entitlement is simply not affordable under the current system – we would have to build tens of thousands of extra homes to give everybody the same choice.
“However, we recognise that whether married or not, the reality is that most people want to own their own home. The Forces Help to Buy pilot has been a great success, and I want to build on that and explore how we could go further.
“You may already have heard that we are looking at ways to improve the accommodation offer to meet 21st Century challenges like these and that is where the Future Accommodation Model comes in.
“This project is looking at how we might change the way in which accommodation is provided, bringing more choice and helping more people get the housing they need, irrespective of age, rank or relationship status. None of this will be easy, and it could involve some quite radical changes. No decisions have been taken, and no options have been ruled out.
“In order for us to deliver the future accommodation we require, I want to take the time to consult with you about what you want. As soon as we are back from the summer break we will be launching the Future Accommodation Model survey to gather your views.
“The survey will go live on 5th September. Please try to find the time to complete it. I know that different people want very different things from their accommodation, so I need as many of you as possible to complete the survey.
“It is your chance to influence the Future Accommodation Model and to tell us what options we should be looking at. With your help and your views, we are more likely to arrive at a model that works for you.”
Lieutenant General Richard Nugee
Chief of Defence People
The FAM Survey will be emailed to Service personnel and will be available via the intranet and gov.uk pages. Click here for further information about the Future Accommodation Model.