MOD cuts LOA in Germany without a formal review?!

#1
I see from the latest LOA rates published that the MOD have used the change in FFR to sneak in a huge slice off of the LOA rates!

Even after the change in FFR has taken effect, with the revised rates a married accompanied Sgt with no kids will be €114.00 a month worse off.

Looks like the MOD is giving us a real time pay, oops, allowance, (I stand corrected!) cut to make up some of that spending shortfall :evil:

Bet the bean counters in Whitehall thought Christmas had come early when they saw the FFR was changing :D
 
#2
I am a year out of date now having left Germany in 09 so am prepared to be corrected but...

What is actually more expensive in Germany? OR
Does the allowance take into account that there are not enough jobs for all the wives to work?
 
#3
It may well be thought that LOA is unjustified, but it can be quite expensive living in Germany compared to the UK in a lot of respects. Fuel aside, (which incidently costs us only a max of 70c less than the tax paid price), you can only take advantage of the tax free breaks for purchases over €50 in certain named areas of spending, so almost all of your day to day purchases for food etc is tax paid. These essential expenses could also be argued to include car insurance, as it happens we in BFG are forced to be locked into a vehicle registration system that requires us to use only a tiny number of overcharging insurance companies who take the piss to be honest, and that's before we even get to the fact that BFG testing wont accept switching headlights that are totally fine in accordance with the German road traffic legislation but will cause all kinds of mayhem if not swapped for ones that dont switch apparently.

A direct quote from JSP 752 "LOA recognises the amount by which average essential expenditure on day-to-day living in a particular overseas location differs from that in the UK, taking into account the differences in the local lifestyle."

I have highlighted the essential expenditure because they have implimented a cut without having conducted a review to determine if this essential expenditure has actually gone up or down, not publicly at least.

The UK is cheaper to live in than the continent. Fact. Otherwise LOA would never be paid. Another quote.. "The aim of Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) is to contribute towards the necessary additional local cost of day-to-day living, when Service personnel are required to serve overseas." By the book LOA is only a contribution toward these extra expenses, which as a result of this stealth cut we are being expected to bear the burden of. Many of us over here in Germany were told to serve here and would maybe wish to be in the UK. We are in effect being told to take a cut in our terms and conditions of service which is comparable to those serving in the UK being given a pay cut. What's fair about that?

Interestingly enough I remember seeing something on the TV last week saying that people on the continent were shopping in the UK supermarkets because it was over 35% cheaper than their own supermarkets.

One thing missing from the JSP was a mention of a spouse's ability to work, I did give the JSP it a good going over though!

Any way rant over. Am I alone being p*ssed off at the way they have done this?
 
#4
I take your point, but in my opinion if you shopped at German Supermarkets buying fresh produce and not the increased Tesco prices in the NAFFI food bills were at least comparable - we found it cheaper. I take the point on Headlights and car insurance but you don't pay car tax and I would be interested to know what you now pay for fuel - £1.20 a litre at my local supermarket!
I personally felt we as a family had more disposable income from my salary in Germany than we did in the UK and we drank more, had more meals out, socialised more - so I don't agree Germany was on the whole more expensive to live in.
I belive LOA funds (or did in 2007-2009) a lifestyle superior to that which one can afford in the UK, I am not surprised to see it targeted in the current climate - if this is a deliberate attempt to do so.
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#5
GonvilleBromhead said:
I take your point, but in my opinion if you shopped at German Supermarkets buying fresh produce and not the increased Tesco prices in the NAFFI food bills were at least comparable - we found it cheaper. I take the point on Headlights and car insurance but you don't pay car tax and I would be interested to know what you now pay for fuel - £1.20 a litre at my local supermarket!
I personally felt we as a family had more disposable income from my salary in Germany than we did in the UK and we drank more, had more meals out, socialised more - so I don't agree Germany was on the whole more expensive to live in.
I belive LOA funds (or did in 2007-2009) a lifestyle superior to that which one can afford in the UK, I am not surprised to see it targeted in the current climate.
Seconded. Since returning to UK from BFG 9 months ago my standard of living has dropped tremendously.

Less meals out, less social driving because of fuel costs, clothes are more expensive (but more up to date...). Car Tax, VAT, more car repairs due to the crap roads in UK. My OH earns less take home pay than in BFG for the same job with more hours in a different location (she was paid Tax Free in BFG).
 
#6
How can you argue the at the cost of living is higher in Germany than the UK??

Housing is cheaper, food is cheaper, beer is cheaper...

If it's to cover incidental expenses associated with being away then fair enough - most jobs that send you overseas pay something for this - but it's hard to believe that life is so much more expensive day in, day out to justify a hefty allowance.
 
#7
Legs said:
GonvilleBromhead said:
I take your point, but in my opinion if you shopped at German Supermarkets buying fresh produce and not the increased Tesco prices in the NAFFI food bills were at least comparable - we found it cheaper. I take the point on Headlights and car insurance but you don't pay car tax and I would be interested to know what you now pay for fuel - £1.20 a litre at my local supermarket!
I personally felt we as a family had more disposable income from my salary in Germany than we did in the UK and we drank more, had more meals out, socialised more - so I don't agree Germany was on the whole more expensive to live in.
I belive LOA funds (or did in 2007-2009) a lifestyle superior to that which one can afford in the UK, I am not surprised to see it targeted in the current climate.
Seconded. Since returning to UK from BFG 9 months ago my standard of living has dropped tremendously.

Less meals out, less social driving because of fuel costs, clothes are more expensive (but more up to date...). Car Tax, VAT, more car repairs due to the crap roads in UK. My OH earns less take home pay than in BFG for the same job with more hours in a different location (she was paid Tax Free in BFG).
Same goes for Cyprus. My OH and I both worked in Cyprus and we never spent more than a 1/4 of our combined income because we shopped locally rather than at the NAAFI.
 
#8
we came back in Sept last year, bang went the frequent meals out, weekend trips to places like the Movie Park, 3 always full alcohol fridges in the cellar, good quality meat for the non-stop BBQs in the good weather, sunday morning walks to the friendly bakeries for croissants and coffee.

Also went the regular bloody brilliant fests they used to have in the city centre, christmas markets and the fairs all with all day drinking but without a pished up toss pot causing trouble any where to be seen.

If the MoD gripped the insurance companies by saying they wont recognise them unless they drop their prices then they could sack LOA altogether! (although the no road tax and tax free petrol would probably go!)

Why dont the larger garrisons have a registered MOT tester on site? this would save so much hassle when you leave the place.
 
#9
The Germans would like to see the tax free system binned and they've been chasing that for years. I'd expect that to go in the next few years (not as any result of recent political decisions though). As for LOA, well it's great when you are receiving it so lets not kid ourselves, but equally let's not kid ourselves that you need it. You don't. It is less expensive to live in Germany than it is in the UK. Long may it continue though!
 
#10
laptop_kid said:
I see from the latest LOA rates published that the MOD have used the change in FFR to sneak in a huge slice off of the LOA rates!
1. FFR changes resulting in LOA changes do not require a formal review.
2. FFR changes work both ways.
 
#11
Counter-Bluffer-Ops said:
laptop_kid said:
I see from the latest LOA rates published that the MOD have used the change in FFR to sneak in a huge slice off of the LOA rates!
1. FFR changes resulting in LOA changes do not require a formal review.
2. FFR changes work both ways.
Agreed, LOA has always been changed subject to significant shifts in the FFR. Unless the cut in LOA this time is disproportionate in comparison to the changes in FFR there is no story here.
 
#12
The only things I find more expensive - generally - over here, is electrical items and clothes. Even these can be sourced reletively cheaply, if you look hard enough.
 
#13
laptop_kid said:
These essential expenses could also be argued to include car insurance, as it happens we in BFG are forced to be locked into a vehicle registration system that requires us to use only a tiny number of overcharging insurance companies who take the piss to be honest
I currently pay £420 a year for my car insurance in BFG using AXA through Culpeck in JHQ.

I am returning to the UK soon and have received mad quotes up to £2500 for my car. The cheapest I can possibly find after many hours of searching is £829 a year.

No, not all things are more expensive in BFG. In fact, having lived overseas for the past 13 years I would say it is a lot cheaper to live in Germany than anywhere in the UK - unless you are a deadhead who shops in the NAAFI that is!!!
 
#14
AFA06 said:
laptop_kid said:
These essential expenses could also be argued to include car insurance, as it happens we in BFG are forced to be locked into a vehicle registration system that requires us to use only a tiny number of overcharging insurance companies who take the piss to be honest
I currently pay £420 a year for my car insurance in BFG using AXA through Culpeck in JHQ.

I am returning to the UK soon and have received mad quotes up to £2500 for my car. The cheapest I can possibly find after many hours of searching is £829 a year.

No, not all things are more expensive in BFG. In fact, having lived overseas for the past 13 years I would say it is a lot cheaper to live in Germany than anywhere in the UK - unless you are a deadhead who shops in the NAAFI that is!!!
My rent on my private flat is much cheaper here, than anything of equivelent size in the UK! I pay roughly 260€ pcm warm!!!
 
#16
The FFR changes so that for every pound you earn. you now get more Euros. The Army does not 'do' pay rises as a result of a change in FFR so it reduced the LOA to ensure that the quantity of Euros hitting the account is the same - simples.

If the FFR had reduced, surprise surprise your LOA would increase.
 
#17
Scrimping on the land of milk and honey during a recession? That simply isn't cricket!
 
#18
Far be for me to cast a stone in Glass Houses but the LOA cut, sorry adjustment is Europe wide. Yes the FFR has been adjusted and if your entire salary were paid in Euros you might break even, but I suspect most have financial commitments in UK that require an element of salary to remain there and as a result are worse off.

According to my AGC SPS chap the loss is equivelent to £400 a month on LOA and therefore made up (Via FFR adjustments) if you pay a minimum of £3500 in Euro allotment to compensate. Probably beyond the reach of the Junior Ranks. So the lower paid are screwed and the more senior break even.

It is worth looking at the Bank Rate vs FFR. If it is below 1.2 then get all your money paid in Euros at the end of the month (at 1.2) then set up a standing order to your UK bank at bank rate (less than 1.2 - cost of bank transfer) and Bingo, free money!

LOA reviews are annual and FFR adjustment Biannual, so not due until the end of 2010.

As to the cost of living debate, whilst the simpler things in life may be cheaper in Germany, they are not elsewhere, so Europe wide things are probably about right.
 
B

blindfire

Guest
#19
Recce19 said:
AFA06 said:
laptop_kid said:
These essential expenses could also be argued to include car insurance, as it happens we in BFG are forced to be locked into a vehicle registration system that requires us to use only a tiny number of overcharging insurance companies who take the piss to be honest
I currently pay £420 a year for my car insurance in BFG using AXA through Culpeck in JHQ.

I am returning to the UK soon and have received mad quotes up to £2500 for my car. The cheapest I can possibly find after many hours of searching is £829 a year.

No, not all things are more expensive in BFG. In fact, having lived overseas for the past 13 years I would say it is a lot cheaper to live in Germany than anywhere in the UK - unless you are a deadhead who shops in the NAAFI that is!!!
My rent on my private flat is much cheaper here, than anything of equivelent size in the UK! I pay roughly 260€ pcm warm!!!

how much? where do you live Recce? in an immigrant slum?? :D
 
#20
AFA06 said:
laptop_kid said:
These essential expenses could also be argued to include car insurance, as it happens we in BFG are forced to be locked into a vehicle registration system that requires us to use only a tiny number of overcharging insurance companies who take the piss to be honest
I currently pay £420 a year for my car insurance in BFG using AXA through Culpeck in JHQ.

I am returning to the UK soon and have received mad quotes up to £2500 for my car. The cheapest I can possibly find after many hours of searching is £829 a year.

No, not all things are more expensive in BFG. In fact, having lived overseas for the past 13 years I would say it is a lot cheaper to live in Germany than anywhere in the UK - unless you are a deadhead who shops in the NAAFI that is!!!
Fully comp insurance through the post office was £347 a month for my motor in the UK - €1100 through AXA in Germany so I disagree in that respect.

Try not to use the NAAFI as they are a blatant fuckin rip off for produce that is usually out of date the day after yo buy it. Local shops tend to be cheaper for food, but luxury goods etc (like TV's bikes etc are extortionate). Not all shops give you the option of tax free purchase and as far as I understand it they don't have to either. All in all I would say that it's about the same when it's all added up.

Do we need the LOA? probably not

Is it desireable? bet your arse it is!

Then again the extra £2244.42 in the bank goes a long way!!!! :twisted:

What always annoys me is the people who are usually to be heard shouting the loudest about getting rid of LOA are usually the ones who have benfitted from it in the past. Wouldn't be so vociferous if they lived here would they?
 

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