Connect with us

Published

on

The Ministry of Defence has paused new military housing plans following a backlash over the new rules on entitlement.

Andrew Murrison, a defence minister, said the MoD was “pausing the rollout of the elements of the policy related to Service Family Accommodation” after listening to feedback and conducting a review.

“This includes the move to needs-based allocation and in the short term the widening of entitlement,” he said in the statement published on Tuesday morning.

As first reported in Sky News, defence sources feared officers could quit over the plan to update rules on the subsidised housing offered to personnel in the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and – where relevant – their families.

These included changes such as the housing offer for a lieutenant colonel or colonel being downgraded, as the military moves to allocating homes based on needs rather than rank.

The changes had been due to come into force next month.

The MoD will still push ahead with plans “to improve the standard of Single Living Accommodation, help military personnel get on the housing ladder by refunding up to £1,500 expenses and give personnel more preference in how they live,” the minister said.

More from UK

Mr Murrison’s statement added: “Our Armed Forces personnel make extraordinary sacrifices to protect our nation, which is why our Modernised Accommodation Offer (MAO) gives greater flexibility, backed by an extra £200m investment.

“This is on top of £4bn to upgrade accommodation and build new living quarters for our service personnel over the next decade.”

More from Sky News:
Ecuador’s battle to destroy drugs gangs – with hardcore tactics
Two bodies found in search for TV star and his partner

Soldiers march in a procession through Whitehall after the coronation ceremony of Britain's King Charles III in London, Saturday, May 6, 2023. Pic: AP Photo
Image:
The new rules would mean higher-ranking personnel would no longer be entitled to bigger houses Pic: AP Photo

An online petition calling for a review of the “new accommodation offer” had attracted more than 7,400 signatures by 16 February.

The petition said: “If the policy is implemented as it currently stands, we believe that armed forces retention rates are likely to fall to even lower levels than those at present.

“This could have an irreversible effect on the capability of the armed forces over both the immediate and intermediate term.”

While the shift to needs-based housing was widely-welcomed, according to defence sources, many officers would also see an erosion in the kind of housing they are entitled to live in following a three-year transition period – which caused outrage in some quarters.

One source told Sky that under the current system, a lieutenant colonel or a colonel – or their equivalent rank in the navy and RAF – with a partner and two children would be entitled to a four-to-five bedroom house with a floor area of 155.5 square metres.

A major – one step down in rank – with a partner and two children would be entitled to a four-bedroom house with a 137 square metre floor area.

Under the new system, any officer of any rank would be entitled to a house with a bedroom for themselves and an additional one for each child – meaning the higher-ranking lieutenant colonels or colonels would effectively see their housing allocation downgraded.

The source said that no compensation was being offered to make up for the loss of space.

Continue Reading

UK

Five people arrested after police discover ‘human remains of young baby’ in Wigan

Published

on

By

Five people arrested after police discover 'human remains of young baby' in Wigan

Five people have been arrested after police discovered what they believe to be human remains of a young baby.

Officers said those detained, aged between 20-70, were held on suspicion of concealing a death and unlawful burial.

They have all been bailed pending further enquiries.

The investigation, prompted by welfare concerns, is focused on an address in Marsh Green, Wigan, and a location on Valley Road in Pemberton.

Chief Superintendent Clare Jenkins from Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan district said: “This is a truly heartbreaking discovery, and I do not underestimate the impact that this news will have on the local community.”

An address in Marsh Green, Wigan
Image:
An address in Marsh Green, Wigan

Addressing the local community, she said: “I would like to reassure you that we have several teams of officers and specialist resources working diligently to find answers.

“You will likely notice an increased presence of our officers throughout the next week, if you have any concerns or want to share any confidential information, please do not hesitate to speak to them.”

Read more on Sky News:
Man stole car with 89-year-old in passenger seat
Organisers insist changes have been made to Grand National

She added: “In the coming days we will know more about the circumstances surrounding this incident, but we are confident that this is isolated, and there is no threat to the wider public.”

Continue Reading

UK

Liz Truss was ‘ecstatic’ with mini-budget plan and claims Number 10 infested with fleas in new memoir

Published

on

By

Liz Truss was 'ecstatic' with mini-budget plan and claims Number 10 infested with fleas in new memoir

Liz Truss has revealed she considered abolishing the UK’s economic watchdog and replacing leaders at the Treasury and Bank of England, accusing the bodies of being “pro-China” and “pro-Remain”.

The country’s shortest serving prime minister said she discussed scrapping the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) with her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng but concluded it would have “amounted to a declaration of war on the economic establishment”.

In an extract from her memoir published by the Daily Mail, Ms Truss says the OBR, Treasury, and Bank of England “were more interested in balancing the books than growing the economy” and saw immigration “as a way of fixing the public finances”.

Defending her September 2022 mini-budget – which led to a surge in borrowing costs and saw the pound slump to a 37-year low against the dollar – the former prime minister said she would “accept that the communications around the mini-budget were not as good as they could have been”.

However, she said the afternoon after which Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng outlined the growth plan was “probably my happiest moment as prime minister” adding “I was ecstatic”.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Truss’ time as PM

Mr Kwarteng was sacked three weeks later amid rising mortgage costs, before most measures in the statement were axed in an attempt to stabilise financial markets.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Image:
Kwasi Kwarteng was also sacked following the mini-budget. Pic: PA

The serialisation also includes behind-the-scenes details of domestic life as a senior government figure.

More on Liz Truss

While foreign secretary, Ms Truss says she was forced to share the grace-and-favour Chevening mansion in Kent with her predecessor Dominic Raab and would find “protein shakes labelled ‘Raab’ in the fridge”.

Anecdotes, complaints and lamentations – but a lack of self-awareness


Rob Powell Political reporter

Rob Powell

Political correspondent

@robpowellnews

Given Liz Truss is the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history and given she oversaw an economic meltdown and was forced to fire her own Chancellor and repeal most of her policy offering, the extracts of her memoirs are strikingly bereft of any self-criticism or self-awareness.

As the political blogger Sam Freeman has pointed, bits of the book feel like a ‘what I did on my holidays school essay’.

There’s amusing and eminently readable anecdotes about trying to get Ocado shops delivered to Downing Street, taking her children into the government nuclear bunker, and finding Dominic Raab’s protein shakes in the fridge at the foreign secretary’s country residence.

There’s also some complaining.

The former Prime Minister laments having to book her own hair and make up and says a lack of medical support meant her private secretary had to get her cough medicine in the middle of the night.

She says living in Downing Street was “intensely claustrophobic” and she was “effectively a prisoner”.

It’s an open question whether that stirs much sympathy with those who saw their mortgage rates soar during her chaotic 50 days in office.

Then there’s the now familiar defence of her economic strategy, which once again seems to consist of blaming everyone bar herself.

In four pages of text, I spotted just two flashes of introspection.

She acknowledges that the “communications around the mini-budget were not as good as they could have been”. But then neuters that mea culpa by adding: “But I have to ask: what would we have been waiting for?”

She also says the late Queen had told her to “pace yourself”, before adding “maybe I should have listened”.

Read more:
Truss ‘furious’ after MPs accused of blocking reform bill

The investigation into Angela Rayner hinges on one thing

The Norfolk MP is also critical of the levels of personal support offered to UK prime ministers saying “despite now being one of the most photographed people in the country, I had to organise my own hair and make-up appointments”.

She described the prime ministerial flat above the Number 10 offices as infested with fleas that some claimed came from her predecessor Boris Johnson’s dog Dilyn.

Ms Truss also revealed she and her husband had ordered new furniture for the residence “but were evicted before it could be delivered”.

The death of the Queen is also described in the extracts, with Ms Truss saying the fact it happened on her second full day as prime minister left her in a “state of shock” and thinking “Why me? Why now?”.

Continue Reading

UK

Grand National | Updates from big race

Published

on

By

Continue Reading

Trending