MP for North-East Hertfordshire, Sir Oliver Heald, has welcomed the additional £1.8 billion of Government funding for training, equipment, and integration that the MoD will provide the Reserve Forces over the next 10 years, as part of the Future Reserves 2020 strategy. The strategy was launched in response to the report of an independent commission that was set up after the last General Election. It concluded that the UK’s Reserve Forces were in decline, that roles had failed to modernise, that the potential of the Reserves was not being realised, and that the Reserves were not being used in a way that suited their ethos and structure. The Government has committed to increase the numbers of the Reserve Forces to a total of about 35,000. Other benefits are being offered to both the Reservist him- or herself and to the employer.
For the Reservists, their pay will be broadly similar to their Regular counterparts, paid daily when they attend training or other military events. The Reserves will also receive an investment of £48 million to allow them to train with the same equipment as Regulars, with more of the training itself being of high quality. On top of this, occupational health provision will be extended to non-mobilised Reservists, better unit-level welfare support will be provided, and use of the Armed Forces Railcard has also recently been extended to the Reserves.
For the employer, an Employer Recognition Scheme will be introduced to recognise supportive employers, notice periods for mobilisation and training will be extended, and a reward of up to £500 per month will be given to SMEs for the mobilisation of every Reservist that they employ. This will be paid on top of the usual remuneration.
Commenting, Sir Oliver said, “I am happy with the Government’s action to improve funding for the Reserve Forces. As people who have both civilian and military lives, Reservists have double the challenge, and I am sure that this additional investment will be of great use. Reservists deserve our greatest respect and support.”