New Accommodation Offer update

Following the release of the draft New Accommodation Offer policy – now known as the Modernised Accommodation Offer – a petition has been launched to ask the government to review it and undertake further consultation with Service personnel before it is launched.

AFF has been raising the questions and concerns of soldiers of all ranks and their families around this significant change in the provision of Service housing with the MOD. In particular, we remain concerned about the ability of the Service Family Accommodation (SFA) estate and private rental markets in some key Army locations to meet the increase in demand. 

We are also concerned about the continued lack of clarity on how the allocations process will work, and what support is available for families who are placed on the private rental route when no SFA is available.

Our evidence over several years, including surveys from 2021 – AFF Big Survey: FAM – The Future of Housing for Army families and 2018 – The Offer Survey, shows that SFA is an important part of the offer for soldiers of all ranks and their families, particularly the most mobile. They need surety of accommodation close to their duty station as they move around the UK and return from overseas postings, so they can move as a family unit without facing extended periods of separation.

We are urging the MOD to now pause and look carefully at how it rolls out this policy. We are maintaining a constant dialogue with policymakers, for example by giving evidence at the House of Commons Defence Committee and raising concerns at the Armed Forces Pay Review Body.

If you would like to feed back concerns directly to the AFF housing team, please email housingsupport@aff.org.uk so that they can be recorded.


POSTED ON 22 FEBRUARY 2024
UPDATED ON 26 FEBRUARY 2024

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    Comments

    I’m sorry but this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Why on earth should people be given entitlement based on rank over need.

    Are you seriously suggesting that it’s more appropriate for a married couple of rank to be in a large home which they will not use 80% of that home just because of their rank. Whilst a more junior staff member with children who is not married has to try to manage in a home not fit for purpose and where multiple children have to share the same rooms purely because of rank and marriage. It’s discrimination and I cannot fathom how this petition is even being taken seriously. The army Basically is stating that it prioritises rank and pushing people to get married over that of needs of there serving families . Also I have no words how the people who raised this petition can even have the gall to do so. How can you honestly in the current climate petition to stop in need families getting appropriate housing because it may mean you have to live in a smaller home. It’s the most narcissistic self absorbed thing I’ve heard in a long time.

    I don’t understand how the new proposal will work , in the Wiltshire area there is not enough housing for the current amount of soldiers based there and now with the new idea to place people in LTR as the same p-stat as those married or with children is bizarre. I already have multiple soldiers with multiple dependents who have to commute 30 minute to work as there isn’t enough housing . This will be a huge mistake and if this goes ahead it won’t be long before married families will ask to move into the blocks .

    Let’s face it, the standard needs to be raised across the board. The MOD is pitting officers against soldiers by making this an ‘us vs them’ thing, when really they should be raising standards of all SFA not lowering it for those currently in a better position.

    I am completely disgusted by the selfish and divisive comments being made by fellow officers and their partners. ‘Serve to Lead’ don’t ‘serve for a big cheap house’. I cannot believe this is even being discussed. In a time of ever reducing resources and increased costs, the idea that rank should be the deciding factor in housing is classist and discriminatory. I fully support need based housing. Many of the arguments presented show a complete misunderstanding of the lived experience of many ORs, who do move every 2 years and who are also paid much less than their OF counterparts. If rank is the defining factor for housing selection then it should be for cost too. The more senior a service person is, the more they should pay for their service families accomodation. If the size of the home is so important, use the multitude of forces and government schemes available and buy your own home. I would be ashamed to live in a 4 bed home with only 1 child knowing there is a family of 5 in a 3 bed. It is arrogant and narcissistic to feel such entitlement over the genuine needs of other families. I would think that if you are moving so often you would want to keep surplus to a minimum and therefor a small house should be sufficient? Frankly, if a house is the only thing keeping a service person in, i’d be glad to see the back of them. Officers are already compensated with higher salaries, better education opportunities, more autonomy and a wider range of job role opportunities. A house should be functional and fit for purpose, not a fashion statement.

    Please also include a query over children out of education, particularly those who enter the Services themselves. I risk returning from an overseas assignment to a smaller SFA as my eldest child will have left education. He has a place in training post-University. As he will not be eligible for a room under the new scheme, where should he go when on leave from RMAS? This is a clear example of being recruiting and retention-negative across the generations.
    I understand that social housing allows children in the military to retain a bedroom in their parents’ house.
    Thank you for the work you are doing.

    Hi Erica, thank you for your comment regarding the New Accommodation Offer update. We appreciate your concerns, and would encourage you to share these thoughts and any questions you have with our specialist housing team who can be contacted directly via housingsupport@aff.org.uk

    What is the AFF doing to prevent the massive reduction in SFA entitlement for officers under the NAO/MAO? Many officers’ families’ will find themselves living in houses 40% smaller than their current houses with no compensating uplift elsewhere in “the offer” under the NAO. Whatever your view on whether officers should be entitled to larger houses according to rank or not, when you consider it from the perspective of the individual families’ facing moves into houses a little over half the size of their current ones (already much smaller than those occupied by their civilian peers), you will understand why so many will insist on their serving family members leaving.

    Hundreds or even thousands of officers will leave the Army as a result of the cuts in accommodation entitlement in the NAO, if they are implemented, and this will amount to constructive dismissal.

    The AFF needs to be as vocal in support of officers’ families’ as it rightly is when acting on behalf of our soldiers.

    These changes are going to make a massive difference to our lived experience. We are currently forced to live in a house to small for our needs due to my rank. Even with living in an area with very little private rental properties we this change can’t come quick enough.
    I find it laughable that the online petition and the majority of those complaining are from senior positions and officers….. those that have not been forced to live in the conditions us juniors have been for as long as I can remember.

    Hello, thank you for your comment regarding the New Accommodation Offer update. We appreciate your concerns, and would encourage you to share these thoughts with our specialist housing team who can be contacted directly via housingsupport@aff.org.uk.

    I feel that my inability to have a large family is reducing the lived experience my husband and daughter will have to face. I have been married for 23 years, have moved 16 times, including 3 german and 1 french posting. We married young and have over time moved up the housing ladder. Unfortunately my husbands efforts, and the repeated absences through deployments, jobs i have given up will no longer be compensated by a nice family home. My family will no-longer be able to stay and support me. Our only surviving aging grandparents will no longer be able visit to receive much needed support. Reducing our living entitlement down to how fertile i am is heart breaking, insulting and discriminatory. My husband has worked hard, he has a house that equals his friends in civy street. Demoting him to a two bed will humiliate him and reduce our efforts to serve our country over the last 20 + years to dust. Badly done MOD. Is the new army sloggan “ need a house? Join the army! No need to succeed, only breed!

    Hi Janina, thank you for your comment regarding the New Accommodation Offer update. We appreciate your concerns, and would encourage you to share these thoughts with our specialist housing team who can be contacted directly via housingsupport@aff.org.uk.

    Your experience is not dissimilar to mine Janina. Been together almost 11 years, seven house moves during that time, we have one child and grandparents far away who have to stay when they visit. I work from home full time due to disabilities and my husband has been serving for 20 years.

    The only difference in my journey is my husband is not an officer. He hasn’t worked any less hard over the years he has been in but every move we are told you’re only entitled to this small house because you’re not an officer.

    I don’t think anyone disagrees that all the estates are in dire need to repairs and modernisation but it’s fundamentally disappointing to me that the need of the serving members families is disregarded based on our serving partners rank.

    If you are a family of four then you should be entitled to a house big enough to meet those requirements, regardless of rank, likewise if you have a smaller family unit then you are based in a smaller home.

    It should not be a “perk” of the job to get a big house because of your rank, your pay is the perk of the job and the housing is provided to ensure that families stay together throughout the various postings and that housing needs to be suitable for your family size.

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