Previously, only married couples, those in civil partnerships and those with legally dependent children could live in Service Family Accommodation (Picture: Crown Copyright).
A series of new initiatives, aimed at modernising the living and working arrangements for Armed Forces personnel have been launched, the Defence Secretary has announced.
The new measures include flexible working arrangements, expanded accommodation options and new co-habitation rules.
Personnel no longer need to be married to apply for surplus Service Family Accommodation (SFA), with the policy also being extended to same-sex couples.
Under the new measures, members of the military can now apply for 'flexible service', to temporarily work part-time and restrict their separation from their home-base.
It is hoped it will help when there is a change in personal circumstances, for example, having to care for young children or elderly relatives or to enter further education.
Operational capability of the Armed Forces will remain the priority when assessing flexible working applications.
Starting later this year, three bases will enter a pilot for the new Future Accommodation Model.
Starting with HMNB Clyde, followed by Aldershot Garrison and RAF Wittering from 2020, the pilot will provide more choice to service personnel regarding where and with whom they live.
It means they would be able to live near a partners workplace or their child's school.
Housing will also no longer be allocated according to the rank of the individuals but instead, will focus on the size of the family and making sure that houses are fit for purpose.
The pilot will last approximately three years.
Also starting Monday, the Ministry of Defence has amended current accommodation policy so all service personnel who have more than four years in the service and are in a long-term relationship or have residential responsibility for a child will be able to apply to live together.
This policy will also be extended to same-sex couples, whereas previously only married couples, those in civil partnerships, and those with legally dependent children could live in Service Family Accommodation.
Speaking about the changes being introduced, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "It’s hugely important that the Armed Forces keep pace with modern society, creating a more attractive option to live, work and bring up a family.
"By making our policies fairer and more flexible, we will help retain our diverse and talented workforce and give them greater freedom as they carry out their service."
Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said the changes are ones that people serving with the British Armed Forces really wanted to see: "Personnel have told us that they want more flexible working arrangements and so I’m delighted these measures are now in place.
"This new package of modern measures will help us retain personnel who want a more flexible approach to how they live, work and serve."