MOD discrimination against younger and unmarried personnel over housing costs
Up to 80,000 serving members of the military are believed to be eligible for compensation
The MOD’s housing policy requires British Army personnel under the age of 37, or over 37 and unmarried, to pay for what is known as Single Living Accommodation, whilst those over 37 and married are eligible for a valuable accommodation allowance. In the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy only those who are married or in a civil partnership qualify for this accommodation allowance.
In 2021 a National Audit Office report found the MOD’s housing allowances system may be considered discriminatory, but there has since been no change to the policy and younger and unmarried personnel continue to pay more for their accommodation. The report found that in October 2020 there were just under 80,000 personnel in Single Living Accommodation, with more than half saying they were dissatisfied with the standard of their accommodation.
The law firm Leigh Day is now launching a claim on behalf of serving members of the armed forces who may have been overcharged for accommodation to help them get compensation and has received more than 500 expressions of interest. It is hoped that legal action will also cause the Ministry of Defence to make changes to other potentially discriminatory policies.
The amount of compensation due will depend on the amount of time individuals have spent in Single Living Accommodation and how much they have paid for it, but if the legal case is successful most claims are expected to achieve compensation of at least £10,000.
Leigh Day solicitor Ryan Bradshaw said: “It is totally unfair that so many younger or unmarried members of the Armed Forces have been effectively subsidising the MOD’s policy to provide cheaper rent to those who are older or married. The Ministry of Defence has made some progress tackling the unfairness in its housing policies, but it is highly unlikely to compensate people for their losses unless they bring a legal claim against it. We want to ensure future generations of service personnel don’t have to deal with out-of-date and discriminatory systems that favour people just because they are married and over a certain age.”