I WELCOME the recent announcement to make home purchase easier for Army families but wonder if this will be matched by a significant rise in pay.
If the rates for Service housing are taken into account when determining wages, can we expect to see salaries rising to match the extra money needed to finance a house, its maintenance and furnishing?
If Army pay stays where it is then the package on offer is severely diminished.
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Response from PS10 Pay & Policy: Feedback gathered during consultation on the New Employment Model (NEM) made clear that Service personnel wanted more support in building a stable family life, part of which is the purchase of a family home.
The new £200 million Forces Help To Buy scheme will provide increased financial support to those who choose to purchase their own home, offering Service personnel an interest-free loan of up to 50 per cent of their salary to be used towards a deposit.
In making a decision to purchase a home it will be important for Service personnel to consider the full cost of home ownership.
Whilst the detailed rules for the scheme are still being constructed, it is fully appreciated that home purchase is one of the biggest financial decisions individuals have to make in their lifetime, not least the ability to be able to save for a deposit and to afford the subsequent mortgage repayments as well as the running costs of a home.
So a key element of the new scheme will be access to educational assistance on personal finance, mortgages and the housing market.
Some families will always need or choose to live in subsidised Service accommodation, and we will continue to provide that for them. Others will choose to purchase a home – we hope Forces Help to Buy will enable more to do that.
Your question touched specifically on pay and the NEM pay model will form a significant element of the overall military “offer”. The level of core pay is determined by various factors including rank, experience and comparison with civilian trades. However, pay rates are not calculated specifically to support any particular lifestyle choices, including whether or not an individual aspires to home ownership.
The key is to ensure that the publicly-funded military salary is competitive, retention-positive and affordable, and these are some of the intended features of the NEM pay model.
Similarly, when coupled with the specific home ownership initiatives such as Forces Help to Buy, the overall offer to military personnel is enhanced rather than diminished.