Who Really Supports Our Armed Forces

ukdaytona

War Hero
We are all sick and tired of this Government running down not only the Armed Forces BUT the NHS, Police etc as well, they ignore our comments, our emails and our letters but there is at least one time every four years they would promise anything for us to put a cross on a piece of paper for them.

What happens if nobody votes, i mean IF the turn out was so low not enough votes were cast - what happens then ?

Do Labour stay in power, does the party that got the 1 vote take power or does the country sink into chaos due to an ever greater lack of political leadership than we have now (if that is at all possible)

Also, IF a political party had an ex member of the Armed Forces as their leader, would that make you more or less likely to vote for them ?
 

Hitback

Lantern Swinger
I believe you vote for the party you believe in. The one you can trust. I know we don't have a great choice at present and you and I would find it hard to put our cross on the paper. However, this Government took us to war on a lie, it stole service personnel vote's in the last general election. Mr Gordon Brown has stole our pensions. Mr Reid's department has allowed the migration numbers to go unchecked. We had a DPM that was caught with his hands down his PA's pants and a PM that has been questioned about fraud and cash for honours. How the hell can we trust them on issue affecting its citizens. All this government is interested in is Political Correctness and spinning Cr*p out. I nearly forgot about the Mrs Beckett who has failed to register the bravery of our armed forces past and present. All this said, how the hell could anyone vote for them on their recent but past history.

Please place your names on the petition that is currently being run on this thread.


Regards

Hitback
 

Hitback

Lantern Swinger
My intentions are to advice service peronnel on the pit falls of buying a house in the present climate. As was placed in the national papers today, some people are taking out mortgages over 9 time their earnings.

The following is something I read recently, "Ignorance is nothing to be ashamed off - But its nothing to be proud off either!

The following was sent to me today by the Shadow Defence Minister. It's the Tory Parties state of the nation report that was launched this week. As you will see they cover the area of home ownership amongst service personnel and their future look forward. The document is very long so I have placed just a small amount on here. If anyone would like the full document then please email me.


Regards

Hitback

Forces Families Mark Harper MP

In the Army, three quarters of personnel live in Army accommodation. In the ranks home ownership is just 9%. 8O

Housing and accommodation

The Ministry of Defence currently manages 49,000 service family and 150,00single living units, making it Britain's largest property manager. The quality of this accommodation is graded on a four point scale. Most of the Service Families Accommodation (SFA) is in the top two grades. However, half of all Single Living Accommodation (SLA) is of the worst standard (see table 1). This problem has been highlighted recently by the media and, in an interview, the Adjutant General, Lt Gen Viggers said “there is still too much accommodation which is of a poor standard, and is old and is not modern in terms of the way that is fitting for the families. In the 2006 Continuous Attitudes Survey just 40% of soldiers were satisfied with their Army accommodation.

It is not fair to expect our forces to come home from the many operations that they are being asked to undertake to accommodation that most people would find unacceptable. This problem is particularly acute in the Army, where a much higher proportion of personnel are housed in service accommodation (see table 2).

Table 1: MoD Accommodation by grade
Grade Service Families Accommodation (SFA)--Single Living Accommodation (SLA)
1 (good) 27,687 (59%)------------------------------- --- 24,254 (18%)
2 16,916 (36%)---------------------------------------------23,261 (17%)
3 2,089 (4%)------------------------------------------------22,931 (17%)
4 (bad) 139 (1%)-------------------------------------------66,836 (48%)

Total 46,831 137,282

To address this issue there are two things that need to be done. First, and most simply, the quality of accommodation needs to be improved. To be fair to the Government, some progress is being made here. Project SLAM is modernising the SLA, costing some £480 million in the first five years; a further £335 million will be spent in the years 2008/09 to 2012/139. This will upgrade a total of 13,000 single living spaces. The MoD currently intends to upgrade SFA accommodation at a rate of about 900 units a year. At these rates it will takes decades to get the accommodation up the standards that we would expect, and they must still be maintained at this standard. A recent NAO report noted that “a significant number of Service personnel and their families are likely to be housed in poor quality accommodation for 20 years or moreâ€. We will investigate whether the upgrading process can be accelerated, and at what cost.

The second option is to improve the proportion of service personnel who actually live in and own their own homes. At present only 9% of Army soldiers live in and own their home (compared to 18% of officers)11; 64% of other ranks in the Army have never owned their own home (just 25% for officers). Table 2 shows the proportion of each service occupying service accommodation.

Table 2: Proportion of personnel living in Service accommodation
Service Number paying accommodation charges--Total strength of service Percentage
Royal Navy 14,627------------------------------------------------------39,390 37
Army 78,902-----------------------------------------------------107,703 73
RAF 27,908-----------------------------------------------------48,730 57

The problem that personnel face is that it is very difficult to get onto the housing ladder. When accommodation is already provided, the incentive to buy a home, with all the risks that this involves is not great. However, when a colour sergeant, for example, leaves the Army at the age of 40 he or she does not want to consider getting their first mortgage. In the Continuous Attitudes Survey 37% of responding officers were either fairly or very dissatisfied
with the prospects for buying or even renting a house. This rose to 42% for other ranks. Some service families are leaving the forces and going into hostels. At present local authorities do not need to consider forces families as having a ‘local connection’ for the purposes of social housing. The Conservative Party will investigate if this system can be developed in a way that will support service personnel, but not place an unacceptable burden
on local communities.

The MoD does currently provide a Long Service Advance of Pay (LSAP) worth up to £8,500. This does not go very far in the current housing market and it has failed to keep up with the rise in house prices. This is further compounded by the fact that the LSAP cannot be used to buy properties that are then rented out. This rule is, reasonably, in place to stop personnel using the allowance for their own profit, but it also means that personnel with a high mobility can never take advantage of the scheme and make it onto the housing ladder. These rules need to be reviewed. We will look at ways in which we can encourage and support personnel to get onto the
housing ladder while still serving so that, when they do leave, they have a home and base from which they can start their new life.
 

Hitback

Lantern Swinger
A person from the ARRSE site has been able to get me a meeting with Nick Harvey MP and Bob Russell MP from the Lib Dems. A big thank you to that person, I shall not name but they know who they are.

I have been been in touch with the PA to Nick Harvey MP. I have emailed some information over to her as well the date in which I can visit the HoC. I shall cover homelessness legislation with BoB Russell and Nick Harveyand other issues affecting service personnel on leaving the forces.

I will keep you updated on the meeting.

Regards

Hitback
_________________
 

Hitback

Lantern Swinger
To all those that have been helping with this campaign, make sure you get the Sun Newspaper tomorrow.

Regards

Hitback
 

Hitback

Lantern Swinger
I'm still going to the HoC on the 2nd July to see the Shadow Defence Minister for the Lib Dems. There are many issue's that require to be addressed and Housing is only one of them!


The article was very small but I will look forward to Yvette Cooper announcing a change to 199(2)and(3) Local Connection Rule for seservice personnel and their families in the House of Commons today. The AFF were quoted as saying they're delighted with the announcement, just a pity they never pressed it through their contacts in Parliament!

Regards

Hitback
 

Hitback

Lantern Swinger
Ukaytona,

The following will interest those following this issue. The cheque has been signed But not cashed, so please keep up the pressure by emailing your MPs asking them to support EDM 288. :thumright:

Regards
Hitback




Communities and Local Government News Release
Fairer social housing rules for service personnel



Communities and Local Government News Release 2007/0119

21 June 2007

Government puts service personnel on a level playing field for council housing

Service personnel leaving the UK Armed Forces should soon find it easier to get a council house following changes to the way social housing is allocated. Housing Minister Yvette Cooper today announced that the Government will amend the law to ensure service personnel are put on an equal footing with other people when applying for social housing.

Existing legislation allows local councils to take into account whether applicants have a local connection when prioritising applicants for social housing.

The legislation can put serving personnel at a disadvantage, as it is not possible for them to establish a local connection with an area through residence or employment when serving in the Armed Forces.

A recent small scale study of 17 local councils carried out by Communities and Local Government found that there were regional differences in how service personnel looking for social housing are treated.

Housing Minister Yvette Cooper said:

“It’s right we provide our servicemen and women with the best possible support as they move back to civilian life.

“The service our Armed Forces give to their country must not place them at any disadvantage when applying for a council house.

“We are closing this loop-hole which has led to some former service personnel facing an uphill battle getting access to social housing.â€

Derek Twigg, Minister for Veterans, said:

“I have been determined to resolve this disadvantage that members of the Armed Forces have been experiencing in accessing social housing.

“The MOD and Communities and Local Government have worked closely together to address this issue. The Government’s decision to change the legislation at the earliest opportunity will ensure that service leavers are not treated differently to other applicants.

“This further underlines the Government’s determination to help veterans and service personnel.â€

The Government will make the necessary changes to housing legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Local councils in England are responsible for framing their own policies and procedures for allocating social housing.
Notes to editors

1. The definition of local connection is provided in legislation - S199 of the Housing Act 1996. A person has a local connection with a local authority district if he has a connection because of normal residence of choice (previous or current); employment; family connections; or other special circumstances. Residence will not be of a person’s choice, nor will they be considered to be employed there, if serving in the Armed Forces.

2. Service personnel are subject to the same access rules as everyone else. Local authority lettings are based on need, with priority going to those in the greatest need who have waited the longest.

3. Housing authorities are required to have and to publish an allocation scheme for determining priorities and for defining the procedures to be followed in allocating social housing.
 

ukdaytona

War Hero
HItback,

got a reply from my MP this morning, as a follow on to correspondence between him and myself, says pretty much what you have posted but worded differently. The last paragraph is worded as follows.....

The Government will make the necessary changes to housing legislation as soon as parlimentary time allows. I am please that the representations I have made on your behalf and on behalf of others have been listened to by the Government and I hope you will welcome this news.
 
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Why isn't this being explored from a human rights angle? The government's position essentially is, for whatever reason, that armed forces personnel have fewer rights to housing than travellers or residents who have been to prison. I know most of you are apt to decry the human rights system in this country, but you might find, as other minorities such as disabled people have, that litigation offers you better prospects for change than relying upon promises which are unlikely to come into fruition for a considerable time, if at all! If you obtain a ruling in your favour the government will be obliged to legislate as soon as possible (within 2 years of a ruling by the Strasbourg Court, for example) to put into legal effect the court's ruling. Moreover the precident will apply to similar cases immediately unless the court rules them out for a stated reason.
 

hackle

Lantern Swinger
Moderator
As I said on BFBS yesterday, thanks are due to the MPs who signed the Early Day Motion or otherwise supported the campaign; to the Royal British Legion for their support; and to the many users of this website who signed the online petition.

I also told BFBS that this victory wouldnt have been achieved when it was without one man... hitback ... or indeed without BAFF itself, which has been working hard on the issue both in public and behind the scenes. (For example, we obtained Counsel's Opinion and it remains very relevant.)

BAFF will soon be taking matters up with local housing authorities.

cheers

D.Y. (BAFF - British Armed Forces Federation)
 

hackle

Lantern Swinger
Moderator
Always_a_Civvy said:
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Why isn't this being explored from a human rights angle? The government's position essentially is, for whatever reason, that armed forces personnel have fewer rights to housing than travellers or residents who have been to prison. I know most of you are apt to decry the human rights system in this country, but you might find, as other minorities such as disabled people have, that litigation offers you better prospects for change than relying upon promises which are unlikely to come into fruition for a considerable time, if at all! If you obtain a ruling in your favour the government will be obliged to legislate as soon as possible (within 2 years of a ruling by the Strasbourg Court, for example) to put into legal effect the court's ruling. Moreover the precident will apply to similar cases immediately unless the court rules them out for a stated reason.
Always_a_Civvy

There is sense in what you write, but who says this "isnt being explored from a human rights angle?" Political correctness aside, BAFF has no qualms about exploiting the European Convention of Human Rights (1951), which was heavily influenced by British values and in which the drafting was British-led.

You mentioned Strasbourg and coincidentally we had a BAFF representative in that city last week, representing our members and broadly supporting the UK Government in certain ongoing discussions under the auspices of the Council of Europe. At the top of our list is the need to ensure that operational effectiveness is not adversely affected.

Please also see my previous post.

D.Y. (British Armed Forces Federation)
 
Hitback said:
This information was sent to me and the only way I could place a box around the information was to scan and paste onto the site.

As you will see the government of the day has failed in supporting our armed forces again. The Labour Party has 352 members of the house, but only 38 Labour MP's have shown support. If you live in a Labour constituency then please email your MP and ask them to support our Troops.
My advice.
Don't live in a Labour constituency--Really Bad News
Hitback



Alphabetical List of Constituencies and Members of Parliament

http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alcm.cfm
 

Hitback

Lantern Swinger
We will still need to follow this issue up. I'm sure it will take some time before Ministers change the Legislation. As D-Y siad the BAFF is following up on the legal side to the current legislation.

Hitback
 

Hitback

Lantern Swinger
Hi all, I've been off line for some time due to BT mucking up my Broadband home move. I will be back on line by Friday, I hope!

The visit to the HoC to meet with Nick Harvey went very well and I also managed to ambush Mark Harper in the Cafe. Dr L Fox was giving an interview to the BBC so I was unable to get to talk with him. I will be placing a detailed report on what we spoke about, in the next couple of day's.


Regards

Hitback
 

Hitback

Lantern Swinger
My meeting with Nick Harvey went well and the points I covered are below. As you can see Mr Harvey has a nice view of the Thames.



1. The JSHAO requires to cover a greater area. This can be done by attaching a team to the CDT group. They visit all military location in a year.

2. The LSAP is not a tax free loan at all, only the first 5k is the rest is paid back with interest.

3. MoD Nomination Scheme is over stretched and is unable to manage with the large numbers requiring housing. All you have to do is look at their waiting lists.

4. The KWS (Key Worker Scheme) is the governments shallow view on this very important issue. There are many service personnel that would love to get onto the Housing Ladder but are unable to get the deposit or afford the repayments. This scheme was also offered to civil servants at five times the number of service personnel permitted, WHY?

There will be some tabled questions on this area very soon, also how many service personnel have used the KWS in relation to civil servants!!!

5. The Homelessness Legislation Amendment of (2002) Vulnerable peoples act is a white wash. The wording is key to its failure or should I say spin. Specific Consideration. This word means to look at but not having to act upon its findings.

6. In a letter dated 9th May 2006. The Government believed only a small amount of service leavers find it hard to get housing. I believe the Government requires to open its eyes and its ears, and listen and look twice as hard as it talks. Only 9% of other ranks and 18% of Officers with in the Army own their own property. In a Continuous Attitude Survey 37% of responding Officers and 48% other ranks were either fairly or very dissatisfied with their prospects for buying or even renting a house.

7. The area of single service leavers hasn't been touched upon by any of the Political Parties. I believe if RSL's allowed group tenancies controlled by Forces Charities this would go a long way in helping single soldiers back into civilian life. I will be putting together a detailed plan of how this would work. If you are interested then please contact me.

Annington Homes Plc was covered in detail and some questions will be asked, I'm sure of that.

1. The profit shared agreement. 1996 - 2004 the Chancellor made 100 million whilst service personnel only got 1% for every full 10 years served!
a. Why is the profit not being used to off set a greater discount for service leavers?
b. Why are service tenants not being given first refusal of properties they once rented?
c Why is the MoD repairing property that is to be handed back to Annington Homes. Whilst service families and single personnel live in run down holes. Annington have stated that they invest on average 15k per property before placing them on the market. So what bloody state are these house's in and why should service personnel have to live in them.

2. What happened to the 1.6bn the properties were sold for?

3. The selling on of military locations has nothing to do with the restructure of the Brigades etc. It all has to do with the Profit Shared Agreement (PSA) and the governments contract to regenerate labour seats around the country. The (PSA) ends in less than 5 years time. After this date the government will receive nothing from Annington Homes Plc.


Regards

Hitback
 

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