MOD Consultation on Financial Assistance for Reservists

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Dr_Evil, Jul 25, 2004.

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  1. Hoon, my nemesis, is consulting the people of Britain on the system governing how the pay awarded to mobilised reservists is worked out.

    Like a fool or a democrat, Hoon is asking for people's views on what should be done. He won't listen but I am sure some of you reading this might want to contribute to the consultation. Here's why:

    I especially like the bit that says "Unconditionally matching individual’s earnings could lead to payments to individuals whose cost to the taxpayer was disproportionate to the military value of the individual concerned. We therefore need some method of limiting this possibility." Evil!*

    * No.2, who is a grammar fetishist, has pointed out that it is incompetently written. Should be matching an individual's or matching individuals'. I have told him: "Evil Overlords have no time for orthography, you pervert."
  2. All the TA soldier wants is to know that they won't suffer financially when called up in peacetime. That's about it really.

    However, I'm not so sure that new legislation will solve the problem. Watching the RAF apply the existing legislation for TELIC did give me an insight into why the Army has problems. It's because the staff applying the rules are jobsworth idiots. Sounds a bit harsh I know but let me explain.

    When myself and my colleagues went through the mill it was made quite clear to use that the system and those who administer it were not there to look after our interests, they were there to enforce the rules - no matter how nonsensical or moronic they seemed. The morons at Worthy Down would happily spend thousands of pounds in wages arguing over hundreds of pounds of RHA and didn't care that soldiers had financial problems so long as the rules were followed.

    Then the RAF got called up. Now they as policy don't use Chilwell. They go to an RAF base and the staff there took the view that the rules are there to look after the reservists. So they had everything agreed much quicker and as far as I could see far more fairly and reasonably. They didn't break the rules, just applied them in sensible way so as to protect the reservist's interests.
  3. How they going to do that? Force these individuals into posts that they are more usable?

    So when you join the infantry will you be forced to bring in your P60's and prove your not going to cost the MOD too much money. If you would do will you be forced into going for a commision or seeking another corps/trade.

    From the names being mobilised from my unit for Telic 5. It seems pretty obvious they are going for the cheap options: LCpls/Cpls with Sgts down as reserves. (JNCO's can claim upto £24K pa where Sgts and above go onto the £37K pa)
  4. I think what they mean is that if you are a private who works in the City on a modest £100k plus bonus, do not expect to have all your lost income paid by the MoD. At present it is unlikely to be and even if they change the system after this consultation, it won't be changed that much.

    From the perspective of the seriously minted, the most stupid aspect of the way the system currently works is that it looks at expenditure rather than income.

    So if you spend all your income, or even more than it and are going into debt, you will have it all made up for you by RSA (that's the theory anyway). However, if you are prudent and save part of your income rather than spend it, that will not be made up.

    The solution for these whinging moneybags is simple: blow all your money on a huge house with a massive mortgage. That way, when you get called up the MoD will pay it for you.* Result! :D

    *Or maybe decide that you are too expensive to call up - a private on £100k looks like a bad deal. But don't bank on the system being prudent with public money!
  5. The main point of the new arrangements is to deal with exactly this point - what you get paid while mobilised is based on what you get paid as a civvi, and your expenditure is irrelevant.
  6. Unfortunately, this is not how it works if you earn over the RSA for your rank.

    I was a L/Cpl when I was called up for Op Telic (now a Cpl), and was told they would pay me 22K p/a - My salary is a great deal more than that, not including the money I earn from the TA.

    I went through the RHA mill, and it was extremely intrusive, they wanted bank account statement from all accounts, copies of P60s etc.

    I then had to justify every expense that I had, and we reached a figure close to my income (excluding the car allowance I receive), but as my wife has an income, they took that complete figure from the award, regardless of the fact that she has her own car to run and her own expenses.

    Had my employer not been willing to make the difference between the Army award and my normal income from them, I would have been seriously out of pocket (and would have had problems paying my bills), as it was, I was still out by my TA pay, but could afford to live without that (My TA Pay is used as a fund for silly things like going out and getting drunk )

    I was personally very dissapointed by the way it was done, and even the WO2 that was hadling my claim said that they system needed to be updated.

    The worst thing about it is that the figures are actually detailed in the RFA, so to chenge them requires a change in the law, which means an act of parliament.

    So don't hold your breath on it getting any better in the short term.
  7. Zovat, it seems obvious that it was unfair to treat your other half's income as relevant without taking expenses into account. I am surprised that the rules of the system would actually work that way - it seems nonsensical and I think you could have appealed it. Bear in mind that the WO2 applying the rules might not have been 100% right about them.

    Personally, I think it is right that people claiming RHA should have to prove their income by showing P60s and pay statements. Otherwise there would be a risk of the taxpayer being ripped off by cheeky STABs claiming to earn vast amounts of moolah.

    The unwarranted intrusiveness comes from the fact that the system looks at expenses as well as income. In most cases, the only way to prove that you spend £x at Sainsbury's each month (or whatever) is to show them your bank statements, which discloses a lot of additional information and so is a step too far for most people.

    In my view, the system should not look at expenses at all. If mobilising a TA soldier means paying him what he would have earned in his day job, then so be it: ain't no such thing as a free lunch, Messrs Blair, Brown and Hoon. Crossed axes, above, says that this is the main point of the new arrangements: I think it should be the main point but the way the consultation document is drafted makes clear that they are thinking about imposing limits, so reservists may well continue to lose out financially.

    This is what is hinted at in 1.5 to 1.6 of the consultation document. They are, I think, talking about looking at income only but retaining a maximum payout according to rank.

    Of course, this could mean that TA soldiers would be required to declare their income to the Powers That Be on an ongoing basis - and so if a private's civilian income went over a certain threshold he would be unmobilisable! This point was correctly spotted by polar, above.

    I don't think you are right in saying that the salary figures in the Reserve Forces Act would need an Act of Parliament in order to increase them. The Act provides that they are to be set by order of the Secretary of State (see s.83). So all that is needed is for Hoon to wake up in the morning, have a shower and a shave, pop on his ill-fitting suit, stroll into his office, summon his permanent secretary and say:

    Hoon: "Sir Humphrey ..."

    Sir Humphrey: "Yes, Minister?"

    Hoon: "I've been thinking ..."

    Sir Humphrey: "Oh good Lord."


    Well, in fact, he would need a statutory instrument (the current thresholds are set out in Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 309 The Reserve Forces (Call-out and Recall) (Financial Assistance) Regulations 1997), which his civil servants would draft and Parliament would simply rubber-stamp.

    You really should consider submitting your tale in response to the consultation document. It's not a legalistic process - just write down your story and send it in.
  8. It's also worth pointing out that different people get wildly different results depending on how they play the system. My experience was detailed elsewhere in the forum.

    My wife's salary was going to be reduced as a result of my mobilisation. One of us would drop the kids off and work late, the other would start early and pick them up. So with me gone she had to reduce her hours - hence a salary drop. When she found out that Chilwell expected her to swallow that she lost her temper in a large way - and promised to turn up and drop the kids off with me if it didn't get fixed. The senile old botty burp from Worthy Down didn't care and the officers there basically said "tell her to get back in the kitchen". Needless to say I wan't about to risk life and limb trying this line of approach with Mrs Strange so I applied for exemption on the basis of child care. Within 24 hours a chunk of RHA equating to the loss was produced.

    The problem is though that I had to kick the behind out of the system to achieve a salary neutral outcome. I did so as those mobilised previously from my unit had gone along without protesting and had suffered financially - often considerably - as a result. It should not be necessary to distrust and play the system to such an extent to make sure that my family income does not fall as a result of mobilisation.

    My salary was below the RHA threshold so I avoided that bag of worms. My colleagues who were though reported that half the problem was that there were no set rules for calculating RHA. It seemed to be down to who did the sums and what they felt appropriate on the day.
  9. Bottom line is that there is no consistency and it very much depends on what member of the SPS staff you get. I got some old bag who was more interested in her tea break than my finances and I have only just managed to recover from a very dark financial hole.

    I found that their tactic was to delay and bluster in the hope that you would forget your RHA claim, lets face it, difficult to write a proper claim in theatre without all the original paperwork and then it is six months down the line and "out of the time period". I gained the perception that the SPS staff were briefed to make it difficult.

    The other assumption is that all employers are "on side" or willing to act in the Countries' interests. May be lucky if you work for an American company but what happens if you are working for a European company? Your best bet is to leave the TA and keep very quiet about ever having served.

    It is a hard question. Why should a TA squaddie get more cash from the system for doing the same job as his regular conterpart. On the other hand the conseqences of not adjusting pay and allowances is not worth thinking about. None of us want to see a squaddies family evicted from house and home when they are away on Ops, the Presss would have a field day and even Gordon Brown would shy away from that (maybe).

    With the economy improving, this problem will get worse. At the start of Telic, things were in a sh*te state, so perhaps more were willing to go then. Salaries in the industry I work in are shooting up and have been on the rise for 6 months or so.

    Additionally, most of those who "volunteered" to be mobilised have already gone. The next batches will be the "unwilling". Just wait for them to kick off and watch the newspaper headlines then

    Won't be so easy over the next few years Mr Hoon.
  10. I think the key point here is that when reservists are compulsorily mobilised in peacetime they expect to be looked after. Full stop. Some will earn more then their regular counterparts - frankly, to the TA soldier concerned that's irrelevant.

    Call-up in wartime is different, no allowances then. However, the banks etc will treat called-up soldiers differently.

    Let's not forget that before 9/11 soldiers were still being mobilised - but only those who wanted to and were therefore happy with military salary levels. It's only because so many are wanted in peacetime that we have these problems.

    One of the main outcomes of this sort of issue is the loss of trust the average TA soldier has in the system. In my experience - and it appears to be matched by many of the posters - if you assumed the system would look after you if didn't. If you assumed it would screw you, spent time before Chilwell putting together a game plan with supporting documentation and proceeded to kick the backside out of it - you had a lot more chance of breaking even. That's not right.
  11. I don't see this as a problem at all, whenever my firm has employed temps they get paid more, so why shouldn't the army pay more when it uses its Temping Agency
  12. Not exactly right ... the proposal is to have a single maximum irrespective of rank. The rumours are that they are thinking of quite a high figure - certainly the equivalent to a 6 figure annual salary.

    To make the changes proposed in the consultation document would only require a new Statutory Instrument, and getting an SI through parliament is a short rubber stamping exercise once the government has published it.
  13. I tried, but they were not having it, I admit that knowing my employer would make up the difference meant that I got to the point where I just though "fcuk it - I can't be arsed.

    Yes and no - for RSA all you need is proof of income - that is fair enough.
    We were always told "they will make up your salary" - when we got to chilwell we found that was complete pants....

    I agree that they should either pay the soldier/officer their civvie income (or the military one if higher, why should they get us cheap) or they should say "sorry - we cannot afford that much", and give the option of a set figure, or honourable discharge.

    (I am not saying that people on high incomes should not be allowed to be reservists, just that they should be advised of the limit before they are likely to be mobilised, and make a decision based on the fact, rather than on misinformation.)

    I think I shall have a good look at this doc.

    I may be wrong on this, but I had a discussion with the WO's at chillwell and he stated that this was the case, and to be fair, I'd just got off a flight from Basra and just wanted to get out of their to a nice hotel with my wife ;)

    I may well submit the story, but I know I was not alone - as one of the few trained pay clerks with the unit, I spent a lot of time trying to sort out chilwell's fcuk ups.
  14. Even though things worked out all right for you, it would do us all a service if you also wrote down your story (or cut and pasted it from arrse) and sent it in. Get your mates to do so as well.

    Whinging they will not listen to. A deluge of written, reasoned accounts which corroborate each other will be harder to ignore.
  15. Jinx!