Is it time for overseas service to be for unaccompanied personnel only?

Discussion in 'Army Pay, Claims & JPA' started by enraged, Aug 20, 2010.

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  1. The announcement has been made that LOA is to be "significantly" reduced. This will have a major impact on all those serving overseas. Not only is life different - not unique - to life in the UK, but it creates additional costs which UK based personnel - who often make the decisions - may not understand.

    There are very few jobs for spouses, and the numbers are reducing further still, with hours for those lucky enough to be in work being reduced to make savings. Professionally qualified personnel, such as doctors etc, can not find work and risk losing their professional status. All of this runs counter to what is common in the UK. Two income families are the norm in the UK, as that is what is required to maintain a normal standard of living. This is no longer the case overseas as two incomes is now the exception.

    Employment opportunities for those leaving school at 15/16 is minimal, let alone opportunities for work experience. The average age of an individual living at home with their parents is rising, and is currently about 25 years of age, but if a young person is to do the same in Germany, they rapidly become dissenfranchised from work, peer group and UK life. If the family home is in Germany, or another overseas garrisons, it is a large "ask" to get a 16 year old to move in with a more distant relative in the UK, simply in order that they can begin their adult working life. That is the military making an assumption on the grounds of cost.

    Choice is restricted in overseas Garrisons. Not only does the BFPO address system fail to keep up with the requirements of modern day living - less for those few companies who post to them - as it makes running UK finances more difficult, but the services - be they statutory or non statutory - do not compare with those on offer in the UK, as overseas Garrisons do not come under a UK Local Authority, and HQ UKSC does not carry the same authority.

    Do not get me wrong, having servced overseas many times, it is an enjoyable experience and there are man ybenefits but they have, and continue to be eroded making the benefits for the wider family less tangible. People may say that the perks of tax free living offset all of this. Many people would prefer to be closer to their family support network of parents and grandparents and wider circle of friends than driving round in the latest S-Max (the days of BMW's and Mercs in every drive have genuinely gone). Other people may say that unaccommpanied service is the way ahead for all - as made more possible by the introduction of Super Garrisons etc etc. We must remember however that the military's aim is to provide stability for married personnel by supporting them to be with their family. If they change this mission to one of enabling stability for the family whilst allowing the military personnel to serve whereever, through a range of financial incentives, that is all very well and good, but do not achieve that by simply pricing families out of living together when you make the soldier work abroad - that is a cheap way of changing policy.

    LOA is the bond that keeps these overseas military communities together. Regardless of the mechanism for calculating the levels, it is used at the family level to compensate spouses for not being able to access work. It is used to pay for those services - such as babysitting - which would often be freely available in the UK through the extended family network. It is used to cover the additional costs of keeping in touch with UK based families and friends, whether through greater travelling or more frequent phone calling. And, it is used to allow some families who wish to purchase those staple british products which are - regardless of what the LOA review team think - more expensive overseas. A pte's family have every right to have HP Sauce on their bacon butty if they wish, and should not be denied the right to enjoy such quirks just because their employer has asked them to serve overseas. The fact that the NAAFI remains more expensive (why can they not be as competitive as the US PX chain) only punishes those families who do not - or can not - change their dietry habits to reflect the region or country in which they serve.

    By cutting LOA as is going to happen in December will only make families choose not to follow their military spouses, increasing the level of separation and marital discord with all the consequences that will follow. All of this will happen as Germany based formations and units are contributing ever large numbers to current operations.

    Doctrine is dead. Long live Doctrine. Remember, there are three components to fighting power, one of which is the moral component which is costly to maintain and difficult to measure, but LOA is a major part of it for overseas personnel, so touch it at your peril.
  2. . Regardless of the mechanism for calculating the levels, it is used at the family level to compensate spouses for not being able to access work. It is used to pay for those services - such as babysitting - which would often be freely available in the UK through the extended family network. It is used to cover the additional costs of keeping in touch with UK based families and friends, whether through greater travelling or more frequent phone calling.

    That may be what it is used for but not why it is given.
  3. ashford_old_school. It does not matter why it is given, every indivudal can spend it how they like to cover the inconveniences of living overseas.
  4. I lose another £4.53 per day on 1 Dec,which is nice.

    In fact I think Im out of pocket compared to someone of the same rank as me who is in the UK.

    I have to pay both Council Tax AND CILOCT you see....

    I'm off to read the AFF magazine on-line to find out why.
  5. No point writing to Soldier, you'll just get brushed off with a patronising reply
  6. The RSM used to call the wives and families `Baggage`,I take It you agree with him then?
    I don´t think Britain needs soldiers in Germany anymore, maybe they should be propping up the British economy and not the German one,keeping soldiers in barracks must be expensive enough but the cost of housing families and especially senior officers in small villas must be astronomical.
    The Yanks have almost deserted Germany and If It wasn´t for them going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan would have left their holiday and R & R centre in Garmisch along with their Armoured and Infantry Divisions after re-unification in 1990.
    If Britain can´t afford Its own defence ie Trident etc and Germany is decreasing Its own Army dramatically why should Britain pay millions in extras like ´pads´ and LOA for absolutely no reason?
  7. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    I would not be at all surpised* to find that one of the SDSR proposals is to stop all overseas accompanied positngs. It makes a great deal of financial sense - and that's the only sort that matters.

    In fact, I'd be astonished if it were not there (anymore)......
  8. but can we afford to bring them home, or would that entail a large and expensive house building program the government can't afford?
  9. Britain seems to find enough money to house hundreds of thousands of immigrants every year so I wouldn´t call that a real problem,plus the money comes back into the UK economy and is not lost on currywurst and pils.The Yanks left lots of poisoned ground that had to be disposed of when they left but they left and IMHO so should we.
    Trident or BFG?
  10. I look forward to you putting your name at the top of the list for deployment to Germany on a 7-year tour without your family.
  11. The drop in LOA is merely the quick and easy way for the MOD to save money. The very fact that the announced it was part of a five year review is suspect in itself. No doubt Officers in Oman, Kuwait, Brunei etc will still be entitled to massive payouts for the inconvenience of requiring a housemaid etc etc...

    A quick drive past the Brig's house shows that he has 11 rooms! 11!

    What exactly has changed in the last 5 years that warrants such a massive reduction aimed purely at the non-commissioned and junior officers? The OP is quite correct -

    Troops now pay to be in Germany in comparison to soldiers in the UK. And really who would pay money to live in this shit country for a second longer than is necessary?

    +1 to the OP for the having penning such a concise and eloquent post. You should send it to soldier magazine just to FORCE the chain of command to justify themselves, even if it is a pile of bollox.
  12. To answer the original question in one word. No. It wouldn't work for all the reasons already posted here and more. Have you considered the affect on retention?
  13. ******* Army.
  14. If LOA rates get cut by 50% then an accompanied soldier on the lowest LOA will still be on about an extra 4600 quid a year for being in Germany if he has 2 kids. That buys a lot of HP sauce, extra flights home and babysitters. Add on top Kindergeld of 180 euros a month then even with LOA getting cut 50% that's quite good compensation for being in Germany. Also add the relocation allowances, trips home paid, tax free cars, BFG fuel for and other perks and the package is quite good.

    Since LOA was introduced there have been huge changes in the standard of living. Cheap flights across Europe, Europe wide cheap grocery chains and much greater availability of consumer goods - all of which point to LOA being a generous perk.

    Soldiers in the UK don't get to choose where they live and they are often a long way from their support networks as well. Wives will have the same problems finding meaningful work in Catterick as they will in Germany.

    Currently a Sergeant with 2 kids who has been in Germany for 2 years gets an extra 12377.15 quid a year in LOA. That is simply unjustifiable.
  15. A wife has the same trouble getting a job in Catterick as she does in Gutersloh?

    Are you mental?

    Apart from that, LOA is not taken into account for use in German supermarkets, it is an average basket spend in the NAAFI therefore any reduction in european-wide grocery shopping should not be taken into account.

    A tax-free car which is (as per LOA/Disturbance Allowance) to be sold upon leaving BFG. Stated many a time in Soldier Magazine by the Brig that is what the entitlement is for. So in actual fact you are entitled to a tax free vehicle for the duration of your tour which promptly plummets in value. Oooh - bargain. Please let me sign up for another 36 months away from my family and friends so I have the luxury of driving a BMW 3 Series the 700 odd miles back home 6 times a year.

    The old and bold may have fond memories of it from back in the day but for most JNCO's Germany is utter tonk and characterised by massive amounts of hoops to be jumped through. It's why almost everyone I know is desperate to get back. They would happily trade in the LOA for a posting.

    However, if we do have to stay I would love to know what exactly has changed in 5 years that warrants a massive reduction (50%) like we have seen over the last 11 months...