The Daily Telegraph

Military urged to invest in childcare and homes for staff

- By Danielle Sheridan Political correspond­ent

THE military should prioritise spending on childcare and houses and not “shiny new equipment”, a report seen by Boris Johnson warns.

The study, Stick or Twist, headed up by Mark Francois, the former armed forces minister, cautions that unless there is more investment in military personnel the Ministry of Defence will be left with no one to operate its weaponry.

“Defence will have to take some difficult balance of investment decisions in order to spent more money on armed forces personnel and their families and less on shiny new equipment, because if not, within several years, there are unlikely to be sufficient qualified and experience­d personnel in defence to operate the highly expensive kit in the first place,” Mr Francois said.

The report also found that “the cost and availabili­ty of childcare is now a material reason why service personnel are leaving the armed forces”.

It calls on the MOD to “think innovative­ly in order to provide increased capacity” in this area.

The report says that the “pressures on family and personal life” needed to be addressed in order to find “a more realistic work/life balance, without compromisi­ng key operations”.

The report cites “widespread dissatisfa­ction” among personnel with the maintenanc­e and repair of their accommodat­ion and urged that “accommodat­ion which genuinely respects our personnel and their loved ones” be provided.

Last week Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, announced a £200 million funding boost for armed forces personnel homes, which will include new furnishing­s, bathrooms and kitchens.

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