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Local Overseas Allowances

Volume 949: debated on Tuesday 2 May 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what factors are taken into consideration in the calculation of local overseas allowance paid to the Armed Services.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when local overseas allowances for Her Majesty's Forces were last reviewed;(2) if he will state the percentage increase that would be needed in respect of each overseas posting to bring local overseas allowances in line with their purchasing power at the time they were last reviewed;(3) if he will state when local overseas allowances will next be reviewed.

Except for housing and furniture, which are generally provided at standard rates world wide, the local overseas allowance (LOA) budgets cover all normal items of expenditure, such as food, drink, clothing, transport, holidays. Where extra costs are incurred abroad because of climatic conditions, these too are taken into account.The purpose of the allowance is to enable members of the Services to maintain broadly the same living standard overseas as their salary gives them in the United Kingdom. The relationship between these key variables—salary, United Kingdom living costs and overseas living costs—is not constant as between overseas theatres or at different points in time. To calculate the changes in rates of the allowance needed to make them reflect changed conditions since they were last assessed would require a review for each area, preferably on-site.The last full review cycle was completed in November 1976, and, as hon. Members will be aware from my right hon. Friend's reply to a supplementary question on 8th November 1977—[Vol. 938, c. 470.]—inquiries and discussions were to take place before reviews began again. These are continuing, and no decisions have yet been taken.