Cameron to Ask U.K. Banks to Lend More to Military Personnel

Prime Minister David Cameron will ask banks to look at ways of improving access to mortgages and loans for British military personnel in an effort to increase home ownership among members of the armed forces.

The Treasury will lead talks with leading banks, building societies and mortgage brokers to find ways of expanding lending to personnel whose credit rating has been lowered because of their profession. Hew Strachan, a professor of military history at the University of Oxford, highlighted the issue in a report commissioned by the government.

“It is important that service personnel are able to get their foot on the housing ladder as the same way other people do up and down the country,” Cameron said on a visit to Afghanistan yesterday, during which he met British servicemen. “I want to get to the root of these issues by making sure that the inevitable disruption associated with military life does not lead to greater problems.”

The step is part of a wider effort by Cameron to improve conditions for the military through the Armed Forces Bill that will be published in Parliament in London today. Cameron’s spokesman, Steve Field, said soldiers’ credit histories were being hampered by them having to move frequently as they are posted to different locations.

“A significant percentage can experience difficulties in obtaining mortgages because they have poor or inadequate credit history,” Strachan wrote in the report, which is scheduled to be published today.

The Armed Forces Bill will also introduce a program to give members of the armed forces better local support in the U.K., including free access to leisure services and sports facilities, and extend a planned subsidy for schools in deprived areas, known as the pupil premium, to the children of military personnel.

The bill will also commit the government to publishing in a report every year on what steps it is taking to improve conditions for the military.

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