Late adjustment blamed for drop in COLA indexes
RAF LAKENHEATH — Updated cost-of-living allowance indexes across the United Kingdom dropped by four points Thursday from their projected numbers as the result of a late adjustment.
A report in last week’s Stripes UK said that COLA indexes for many troops would stay put and would raise only for smaller, remote base communities following results of a Living Pattern Survey.
However, the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee recalculated the data because of a recent rise in the U.S. dollar against the British pound, according to Maj. Norm Dozier, commander of the 48th Comptroller Squadron at RAF Lakenheath.
“The currency fluctuation adjustment that hit basically negated the recent U.K. COLA Survey adjustment,” Dozier said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.
In October, about 4,800 troops in the U.K. took the Living Pattern Survey, which evaluates the spending habits of servicemembers and their families once every three years, Dozier said. About 9,300 active-duty servicemembers are assigned to U.K. locations.
Data from a Retail Price Schedule, used to estimate the local economy’s inflation, also helped determine the current indexes, Dozier said.
United Kingdom COLA indexes as of last Thursday. All locations saw a four-point drop from their projected indexes that was blamed on a late adjustment. The COLA index point system is a guideline to determine ongoing COLA pay troops see in their paychecks. COLA pay, which is calculated about every two weeks, still can fluctuate with exchange rates.
Alconbury/Molesworth, Cambridge, Harrogate/Menwith Hill, Lakenheath and Mildenhall: COLA index is at 136Fairford/Croughton, London Metro (UK 388) and Oxford: 146Bath, Digby, Helston, Plymouth, Portland, Portsmouth, Rochester and Yeovilton: 154High Wycombe and Daws Hill: 158Central London: 170Salisbury/Wilton: 148St. Mawgan: 150Scotland/Wales: 156Source: Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee Web site