To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to circumstances which where a member of the auxiliary reserve forces lives in Northern Ireland but is part of a GB based military unit, that does not have an operating base in Northern Ireland, what support those service personnel get with travel costs to attend their regular training at their unit.
Volunteer Reserve personnel are eligible to claim Home to Duty Travel allowance which provides a contribution towards the costs incurred when they travel between their normal civilian place of work to attend training. Payment of this allowance is capped at a maximum travelling distance of 50 miles, regardless of any greater distance travelled, and this is in line with what is paid to Regular Service personnel. Some specialist Reservists may be eligible for rates in excess of 50 miles due to the location of certain Specialist Units. This extended mileage concession is only available on permission of Commanding Officers and after obtaining financial authority and applies to all specialist Reservists in the UK. The exceptional nature of this concession is because the Ministry of Defence needs to balance the cost of such travel with operational needs.
Not all Volunteer Reserve personnel live in the vicinity of their Unit. There will be some, for example, who have had to relocate for civilian employment reasons but who cannot, or choose not to, change to a new Unit. Where Volunteer Reserve personnel are unable to attend for training because of travel issues, they would not qualify for pay or be likely to earn a bounty, but that does not automatically mean they have to leave their Service. Units will do what they can to keep in touch with Volunteer Reservists in this situation.
Where Volunteer Reserve personnel are required to travel away from their normal Unit (e.g. for annual training) then they are eligible to claim Duty Travel allowance for the cost of the travel to and from their Unit to the temporary duty station where the training is due to take place.