SDSR - Changes to Service Personnel Allowances

Full details on AFF Website.
Key Points
  • The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) set out a requirement to reduce expenditure on Service and Civil Service allowances amounting to some £300M per year. Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan, today announced the package of measures to be implemented for the Armed Forces.
  • Except where specifically stated these changes will take effect from 1 May 2011.
  • These measures will represent a £250M reduction per year from an Armed Forces allowance spend of approximately £880M per year. About £80M of this reduction will be achieved as a result of reductions in numbers of personnel and measures to reduce the number of movements which generate claims. The remainder will come from changes in allowance eligibility criteria and rates.
  • An at-a-glance summary of changes can be found at Annex A. This should be read in conjunction with the detail contained in this brief.
  • Additional briefing material for Commanding Officers has been issued via the single-Service chains of command and Heads of TLB, Agency and Trading Fund establishments.
  • Changes to Continuity of Education Allowances were announced on 16 December 2010 via Defence Internal Brief 2010/95.
  • It is accepted that these changes will be unpopular and that some of them may require adjustments to lifestyle, but they are a necessary part of the Department’s contribution to the overall Government’s programme to reduce the UK deficit.
  • The purpose of allowances is to reimburse Service personnel for justifiable expenditure incurred either when on duty or as a result of the unique natureof Service life. The current financial position has placed pressure on the level of allowances that are affordable. Whilst there will be some reductions and changes, appropriate allowances will continue in the future.
  • The Service Chiefs of Staff and their Principal Personnel Officers have been fully engaged in this process. The MOD and the single Services have concentrated on ensuring, where possible, that no group is disproportionately affected, and have sought to mitigate effects by phasing in some changes by up to 2 years.
  • Where possible, allowance savings measures have been taken in accordance with the following principles: o all actual, unavoidable expenses incurred for Service reasons should be reimbursed; o where expense is incurred for Service reasons but there is some element of choice in incurring this expense, Service Personnel should make a contribution towards it; o operations, mobility and separation should be the highest priorities for reimbursement; o lower earners should be protected as much as possible;
  • Many personnel claim only a few allowances and therefore will not be significantly affected by these changes. Individuals whose circumstances do warrant many allowances and believe they will be placed in financial difficulty by the changes should inform their Chain of Command who will direct them to the appropriate area for advice.
  • For those changes to allowances that will take effect from 1 May 11, any rates not yet published, as well as applicable regulations, will be promulgated by Directed Letter by no later than 28 Feb 11. Where allowance changes will take effect from 1 Apr 12, rates will be published at the appropriate time.
  • A separate Defence Instruction and Notice (DIN) on changes to the Commitment Bonuses Scheme due to take effect, for new entrants only, from 20 Jan 11 and explained below will be issued shortly.
  • Changes to the Specialist Pay Reserve Banding system will take effect from 1 Apr 12.
  • In addition to the above, other work is continuing to review payments made in support of recruitment and retention, in particular: o The single-Services are reviewing and revalidating the full range of Financial Incentives Schemes. o Each category of Specialist Pay will be reviewed and revalidated in 2011.
  • In line with current practice, the allowances policy and the associated rates of payment will remain under constant review.
Well, it is not as if there were no combat indicators that the axe was about to fall. Just read through the lot (there is a presentation on this afternoon but I have a subsequent engagement) and nothing too contentious in there - although a review of CEA sounds ominous.


Book Reviewer
Make sure to attend a briefing or get hold of a briefing pack of the new allowances review, which will be released later this morning.

Particularly big news for those of us working in London, receiving FIA or who may use their own vehicle for travelling to work or attending meetings even.

In general the whole allowance package has been reviewed but CEA rates and SP are not affected by this current review but are subject to ongoing work which will carried out throughout 2011.

Quick guide - FIA will be reduced by 1/3; London allowance for all ranks above OR5 will be removed entirely; susbsistence allowance IE has been removed entirely; If you live in SSSA and receive FIA and are within 3 miles (as the crow flies) of a messing facility you will lose FIA and be expected to use the service mess for food; MMR will be reset to the HRMC rate.

LOA is reduced by variable degrees and for those in NW Europe the car buying/selling scheme is withdrawn (whatever that was?)

Lot's of other nuances but nothing positive.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
having just had a quick look at Annex A my first thoughts are that really there are no comebacks for you over this. It is really bringing the services in line with what civiliansd have to put up with.

What should be worrying you a lot more is SDSR being re-opened. See here. That will financially effect many of you much more severely.


Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Nothing really to gripe about in the allowance cuts from what I can see so far.

IE being removed was just a buckshee fiver a day. Bar having to pay for laundry services what we incur when on course generally isn't much different than our normal day to day routine unless you're stuck in the arrse end of nowhere and spend a fortune on choccy to comfort eat at night. :)

We were stood around the Sqn office the other day talking about the cuts they'd make. There's a huge board on the wall with all the allowance rates on it. Swoop of the hand across it "One day son that'll all be gone.."



Book Reviewer
I tend to agree but suspect that a lot of people who are currently in receipt of these allowances will see it as a huge affront; I've already heard the "they're reducing my pay" cry, which of course isn't the case but as we all know some mistake allowances for pay and start to think of the overall sum as their 'basic' pay and earthly right.

I do agree that this is the start of brining us more into line with a normal civilian employer, and the rub here is that if we start to lose the allowances and I hate to use the word 'perk', we will simply be classed as just another employer and we will start to find it hard to attract the right people.


Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Exactly. Perks, not pay.

It'd be interesting to know how many of these allowances were created because someone very high up long ago said;

"There must be a way to get more money in my pocket every month. Lets sit down and have a think."

Like the LSA rates. Used to be three levels, now its, what, twelve? It might save money at the lower levels but with all these tours people are rapidly getting themselves up into the higher bands and it must be costing the Firm a fortune.

Meah. I'm fairly shruggy shoulders on this. Anyone that is balancing their lifestyle on the extra perks they receive is a mug. Understand that overseas things might be slightly harsher if you've gone there of your own accord and that's a different matter. In the UK though there's no excuse for it.


Had this brief about an hour ago, I don't get any allowances and its unlikely my bn will be going to Germany anytime soon so it didn't really affect me.

Some of the cuts are going to hurt people. But not only will these save money but they might give people who'd been uming and ahing about getting out a push, helping reduce numbers.

Sent from the garages using Tapatalk
For those of you on Twitter (I know, I know), @niallpaterson (Sky Defence Correspondent) is looking for comments from Armed Forces personnel .....


Nothing really bad there, but why does the cynic in me say that despite the few pennies saved here, the MoD will still piss the pounds away?
I'm not one to crib about allowances and there is nothing in there that will have a great impact on me but when I read and hear people say it will bring the Army more "in line" with civilians it really grips my shit. In 30+ years of service I have not noticed many civvies standing "in line" with me. The odd brave interpreter or out of the ordinary RUC/ PSNI man but not your average civilian. We ask more of our soldiers than any civvie employer so don't lump them in with or bring them in line with civvies.

Before someone chirps up with the volunteer cliche, of course we did and I'm not saying we're hard done by but dont measure us against your average civvie.

There now, thats better.
Brief in a nutshell

LOA reduced in some places with NW Europe taking the largest hit
GYH(O) adjusted in NW Europe to compensate for LOA reduction and removal of "Betts Nights"
MMA reduced
IE allowance binned
Disturbance allowance reduced
LOA for dependant 18 year olds to be axed
GYH(T) for those living in Quarters, Personal contribution to raised from 1 mile to 9 miles in line with owning and living in your own home.
London allowance for SNCO and above will be axed
FIA reduced

No suprises there. Those below Cpl and junior officers will benefit in the new 3 tier LOA system everyone else will lose out. Not knowing the new rates for LOA that will be published next month and working off the current rates means a Pte married with 2 kids will see an increase of around £104 whilst a WO married with 2 kids will see a drop of around £370.
Having just emerged from an O'Group & listening to feedback there's no real surprises here,.
Ladies and Gents, pause for thought, we are not civilians working for a private sector company. We are currently on a two year pay freeze our allowances have been cut or lost. Will the cost of SFA, SLA or PAYD be reduced in line?

Any volunteers for UnionRep?


Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
My wife has watched numerous peeps in her department get made redundant, had a pay freeze and doesn't look like getting promoted due to cost restraints. I don't see the council reducing our council tax bill in return or the supermarket getting any cheaper.

As I look at it, introducing a pay freeze or other cuts in the forces and then reducing the amount of money coming back in by cutting things like SFA, SLA, etc, just acts like a double negative and cancels each other out. Achieving nothing.

It's all about how you as a person manage your financial situation now. Lets be honest, we all know at least five serving people from the lowest to the highest rank that can't manage their money.
Ladies and Gents, pause for thought, we are not civilians working for a private sector company. We are currently on a two year pay freeze our allowances have been cut or lost. Will the cost of SFA, SLA or PAYD be reduced in line?

Any volunteers for UnionRep?
Union Rep hmmm, Unions do not possess the teeth they once had due to the systematic dismantling of the Trades Unions that led to privatisation of large swathes of Government concerns from Railways to Electricity. Aside from being barred from trade union membership (QR's if memory serves me still).

It is highly unlikely that any reduction in quartering charges will be implemented. It has been mooted for a number of years that; rental will rise eventually to equivalent civil rental rates.

Harsh as it may seem, most in quarters pay monthly what people pay weekly for a private let, so do not feel so hard done by.

The cuts could have been much harsher.


Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Harsh as it may seem, most in quarters pay monthly what people pay weekly for a private let, so do not feel so hard done by.

The cuts could have been much harsher.
*Thumbs up*
Better than what I thought it was going to be,
LOA constantly goes up and down anyway so I don't even factor that in much
IE is a bit of a pain in the arse, No i didnt always use a fiver a day, but washing/drying is about 1.40 a load in Deepcut (free in home unit), using the internet in the bar (free in my own block) Having spar prices because the nearest Tesco is miles away etc
I didnt even know 18 year old dependants parent could claim LOA for them, unless they are doing A levels they shouldnt have got it.
Most of the driving allowances should be scrapped, most civvies don't get them, if you want to save money ride a bike.
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