To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to encourage the use of (a) credit unions and (b) the help to buy scheme by armed forces personnel.
7 March 2016
In October 2015, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) launched a facility to make Credit Union services available to UK Armed Forces personnel via payroll deductions. The launch was communicated through the MOD intranet and gov.uk website, and also cascaded to the single Service welfare and internal communications leads.
Three chosen Credit Unions are now working together collectively under the banner 'Joining Forces' to provide Service personnel with access to dependable savings facilities and safe affordable loans. Further details are available from their website: http://joiningforcescu.co.uk/
Joining Forces have an employee who works solely on behalf of the collective to deliver presentations and information packages to personnel on military bases. They are also examining various strategies to promote their services through Armed Forces publications and engagement with the Families Federations.
Work is currently under way to enable veterans who are in receipt of an Armed Forces pension to access the services provided by Joining Forces. It is expected that this facility will go live later this year.
Take-up of the £200 million Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) scheme has been very encouraging. The scheme has already given £93.7 million to help over 6,100 Service personnel buy or extend their homes. While there is no advertising budget for FHTB, the success stories of the scheme continue to be communicated through routine internal channels, as well as MOD social media where appropriate. These examples are cascaded via the individual Service networks to raise awareness of the scheme and to inform Service personnel of the support available to them.