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Armed Forces: Food

Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the pay as you dine scheme. (223380)

[holding answer 10 September 2008]: Pay as You Dine was introduced in response to a strong belief, particularly amongst Junior Ranks, that the previous system, which raised monthly food charges irrespective of how many meals were taken, should be replaced with a more flexible scheme that offered longer opening hours and only charged for meals or other services consumed. Pay as You Dine is still being rolled out across all three Services and where it has been introduced, the single Services are monitoring the delivery of the scheme with the contractor. While feedback from Service personnel has been gathered through the various Continuous Attitude Surveys, implementation across the Services is ongoing and it is too early to make an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the Pay as You Dine scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have registered for the Hungry Soldier scheme. (223495)

[holding answer 15 September 2008]: Pay as You Dine was introduced in response to a strong belief, particularly amongst Junior Ranks, that the previous system, which raised monthly food charges irrespective of how many meals were taken, should be replaced with a more flexible scheme that offered longer opening hours and only charged for meals or other services consumed.

There is no “Hungry Soldier” scheme, but an administrative procedure within units that recognises that some individuals, on occasions, are unable to manage their budgets effectively. Our policy for dealing with this is to place such individuals on the “Food Charge” and to provide the standard “core” meals until they are able to resolve their financial difficulties. The cost of these meals is then deducted from the following month’s pay.