COLA – Cost of Living (Attaches only)
The aim of COLA is a tax-free allowance paid to compensate for the additional cost of maintaining a UK lifestyle whilst serving abroad. COLA is paid according to the basic pay of an individual and falls into one of seven bands.
COLA is calculated by comparing the cost of a standard shopping basket of items purchased at Post with the same basket purchased in the UK. Provisions for domestic help (non-representational domestic assistance), childcare, recreation and 720 minutes of telephone calls to UK are added to the cost of the shopping basket to give the final COLA Uplift figure.
The level of COLA can vary significantly (up or down) during the course of a posting. Personnel are therefore reminded to take care when entering into continuing financial commitments on the basis of COLA levels prevailing at the start of a tour.
Revision of COLA – COLA will be reviewed on a minimum twice-yearly basis. Rates are affected by changes to exchange rates, local prices and the Home Spendable Income derived from the Government’s statistical exercise, the Family Expenditure Survey.
Eligible Service Personnel – SP who are assigned as attachés, advisers and Defence Section Service Support Staff are eligible to the allowance described in this Section. All other SP will be in receipt of Local Overseas Allowance (LOA).
Child Addition – An additional element of COLA is available for each eligible child living permanently at the overseas station.
For further information on Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA), including the current COLA rates, Contact: BDSUS-SG-Pers-Team-Mailbox@mod.gov.uk