Armed Forces: Mental Health

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 22nd September 2020.

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Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment his Department has made of the level of morale in the armed forces.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

The maintenance of morale in the Armed Forces is a high priority and is measured in a robust, consistent and scientific manner, through mechanisms such as the Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS). Ratings of high self-morale have remained unchanged since last year at 41%.

There are a range of measures underway in the fields of recruitment and retention designed to maintain morale; these are kept under constant review.

All personnel will shortly receive an increase to pensionable pay, delivered alongside September 2020 salaries and backdated to 1 April 2020. This follows the 2019 pay award which saw an increase in starting salaries for Other Ranks. We have also introduced other financial initiatives in certain priority areas. The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) is now being piloted across a number of sites providing eligible personnel greater choice of housing options to better suit their lifestyles. The introduction of Flexible Service is helping Regular personnel balance busy, committed careers with changing circumstances in their personal lives by offering temporary part-time working or restricted separation from home base, subject to operational capability. We have also collaborated with industry to provide new opportunities for those with critical skills in order to improve retention within the wider Defence community.

Detailed analyses of morale, commitment and engagement can be found in the AFCAS publications: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/armed-forces-continuous-attitude-survey-index

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