CHANGES TO NORTHERN IRELAND ALLOWANCES AND CHARGES

#1
Published today:

CHANGES TO NORTHERN IRELAND ALLOWANCES AND CHARGES

KEY POINTS

• On 1 August 2005 the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced the start of the Normalisation programme outlined in the Joint Declaration. Stage 1 of this programme will be complete by 31 July 2007, and at that time Operation BANNER, under which the Services provide military support to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), will end. After this date (Stage 2), up to 5,000 service personnel will remain in NI, under command of Front Line Commands and liable for deployment worldwide in the same manner as Service personnel based elsewhere in the UK or abroad.

• The current allowances and charges package are specific to the operational, security and welfare circumstances of Operation BANNER. On commencement of normalisation Stage 2 the package of charges and allowances will start to be brought in line with those applied to Service Personnel outside NI. Some elements will be retained to reflect specific circumstances of service in NI to be reviewed periodically.

DETAIL

Planned Changes at the end of Operation BANNER. With the end of Operation BANNER on 31 Jul 2007, NI will no longer be classed as an operational theatre. At this stage the units will be based in standard Single Living Accommodation (SLA) or Service Families Accommodation (SFA); therefore the justification for the blanket declaration of field conditions will no longer exist. As a result, from 1 Aug 2007, personnel will pay food and accommodation charges on the same basis as those elsewhere in the UK and overseas. In particular:

• Personnel in SLA will start to pay accommodation charges appropriate to the type and grade of accommodation occupied (unless exempt under normal rules) and the rate of food charge appropriate to their circumstances.
• Personnel in SFA will pay appropriate accommodation charges, as elsewhere, and will cease to receive NI Compensatory Food Allowance (NICFA).
• All personnel in publicly provided accommodation will start to pay Contribution in Lieu of Council Tax (CILOCT) as levied in GB and elsewhere. Personnel in NI do not currently pay CILOCT, although those in SFA pay an element of domestic rates within their current abated charges; this element of the charge will lapse.
Other provisions associated with operational status will also cease, namely: Operational Telephone Allowance (which provides 20 minutes free talk time a week for single and unaccompanied personnel); welfare entertainment; free e-blueys (Forces air letters) and the award of operational medals. The automatic grant of involuntary separated status to those opting to serve unaccompanied in NI will end, with appropriate protection for those currently claiming Continuity of Education Allowance on the basis of this status.

Elements of package to be retained and reviewed during Stage 2 Normalisation. Post Operation BANNER, Northern Ireland Resident Supplement (NIRS) will be retained in recognition of continuing restrictions on living conditions that the security situation causes for Service personnel and their families. The Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) will review the rate of NIRS and make announcements on rates in their 2007 report along with announcements on the main pay award for 2007/08. The following points should be noted:

• NI Journeys, which provide respite from the pressures of life in the Province, will be retained for the time being. In due course, it is planned that this element of the package will be replaced by access to the appropriate leave or Get You Home travel provision available to personnel in other locations.

• House Moves on Security Grounds will be retained.

• Welfare Transport will be retained.

• NI Motor Insurance Refunds will be retained.

• Move In/Move Out Scheme for SFA will be retained.

• COs will be able to declare field conditions where the normal criteria for such a declaration are met. This could, for example, be the case in the event of Public Order support to the PSNI (as provided for in the Patten report).
 
#2
End of the NI Clasp and GSM anyway.
 
#4
I have been told by a contact in the medal world that it also the end of the GSM. From now it it will be OSMs only.
 
#5
I have been told by a contact in the medal world that it also the end of the GSM. From now it it will be OSMs only.
 

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