Daily Messing Rates

The Government Transparency Agenda sometimes throws up some interesting gems like…

A list of the daily messing rates for military personnel including supplements and in-flight scales for the period 1st November to 31st December 2013.

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[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/daily-messing-rates”]

The Daily Messing Rate, or amount  for personnel serving on OP HERRICK is £3.36!

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December 29, 2013 9:08 pm

Having worked in the public sector this kind of report is the kind of thing that can cause general Daily Mail public rage. The catch is the devil is in the detail, the MOD like any other part of the public sector has significant purchasing clout and it is surprising how much you can get when buying in bulk. £3.36 is not an unreasonable figure as one would think when you factor in how much they are buying.

December 30, 2013 6:50 pm

Just to clarify matters, DMR is intended to cover the cost of meals provided for entitled service personnel while deployed on board ships or submarines, in the air or on operations or exercises. When living ashore in non-operational circumstances, entitled personnel are subject to PAYD (Pay As You Dine) and the linked rates apply:

UK Government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/catering-retail-and-leisure-pay-as-you-dine-charges

UK Government website: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/253933/20131001_CRL_rates_Nov_Dec2013.pdf

December 30, 2013 7:27 pm

Just to add a bit more info, for those not yet on PAYD, the DMR is the amount the mess gets to spend per day per person. This is paid for by the DFC (Daily Food Charge).

December 30, 2013 7:42 pm

Thanks for that clarification. The PAYD system still leaves questions open to my mind.

Back in the early seventies members of HM forces were awarded a quite substantial pay rise. However, at the same time their pay was top-sliced to take into account the food and lodging provided. That is to say for several decades before “Pay as You Dine” was introduced all members were already paying for their meals (whether they be on ops at sea or otherwise). Does anyone know if that top-slicing was reversed before PAYD was introduced? If it wasn’t then HMG, or more accurately HMT, seem to have been taking the piss.

On a side issue has HMG provided the DMR for prisoners in HM Gaols recently? I only ask because the last time the figures were released it showed that the amount allowed to feed convicted criminals was substantially more than that for members of HM Forces.

December 30, 2013 8:23 pm


Do you mean money out of pay every month for food and accom. Then yes it happened until PAYD.

Yes it was released for scottish prisons anyway and yes it was more than the DMR at the time (about 6 years ago)

December 31, 2013 1:15 am

PAYD was introduced because a vociferous minority of those living shoreside objected to having their pay abated for the subsidised cost of three meals per day even though they didn’t necessarily avail themselves of all of them. This disguised the fact that those who did avail themselves ate better as a result and, in the long term, everyone benefitted at some time or another.

Since the introduction of PAYD, much the same people have been complaining because of the relative paucity of core meals and their spare cash not always lasting until the end of the month (special measures are in place to protect new entries from starving!). Although the food is still subsidised to some degree, the cash-based accounting process used in catering contracts means that cost per meal per person has to be nailed down more accurately than under the old system; otherwise the contract caterer would risk going bust. These days, it’s no good trying to do an Oliver Twist by asking for more.

December 31, 2013 12:09 pm


“Do you mean money out of pay every month for food and accom.”

Not as such. In the early seventies inflation was running riot and service pay fell horribly behind to the point where it was a national scandal. So some committee (it was a long time ago so I can’t remember the details) was set up to say what should be done. Said committee recommended that the members of HM forces should receive a big pay rise. The government couldn’t do other than accept the recommendation but HM Treasury, as ever, stuck its oar in.

I can’t recall the figures, but they really don’t matter. Let us say the recommendation was for a 20% increase in pay. “Ah”, said those bastards in the Treasury, “But Tommy Atkins is provided with board and lodging at HM’s expense, this is an anomaly. They can have their 20% pay increase but we will take a chunk of it to pay for the food and accommodation we generously give them. Therefore, their pay will only rise by 15%”. Of course the missing 5% stayed with the Treasury, it never made it to the MoD’s accounts.

Now, all pay rises since have been made on the starting point of the 15% settlement. So when overt charges were introduced Mr. Atkins, Jack and the Crabs were in effect made to pay again for something for which they were already being charged. Hence my comment about the Treasury taking the piss.

Contract caterers! I shudder to think. Back in the day we were fed by the Army Catering Corps who, on the whole, did a superb job and weren’t worried about a profit margin (apart from whatever fiddles the cook sergeant was running).