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10.2.1 General Principles
In May 1973 the Defence Service Homes Act 1918 was amended to include service in the Regular Forces in peacetime as qualifying service. The new qualifications applied only to members of the Forces who served on or after 7 December 1972. It was based on the completion of a period of continuous full-time service of not less than 3 years.
The Government's decision to extend the benefits of the Scheme to members of the peacetime Forces was part of its policy to abolish conscription into the armed Forces and to fulfil its stated aim of introducing conditions of service that would attract and retain regular servicemen in peacetime. The Government regarded the measure as an essential one in establishing an all volunteer force. Due to the itinerant nature of his occupation, it is considered that a regular serviceman is at a disadvantage compared to other members of the community in acquiring a permanent home.
As many servicemen were leaving after the completion of 3 years' service, the legislation was amended, in May 1978, to extend the qualifying period to six years' continuous service plus a commitment to render further continuous service. This amendment was designed to encourage the long-term retention of skilled personnel in the Forces.