The government announced in the Autumn Statement that Service personnel will have their pay frozen for two years, and then a 1% capped rise will be imposed for the two following years. This was done without reference to the Independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body, whose recommendations Labour accepted on all but one occasion. Senior military figures have questioned if the government is truly committed to the military covenant.
Before the election and with full knowledge of the UK’s economic condition the now Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called for a rise in Armed Forces Pay – See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/clegg-calls-for-armed-forces-pay-increase-1780391.html – yet now his Coalition Government is freezing pay, which after taking account of inflation, is effectively a pay cut.
Labour Friends of the Forces and many Labour MPs are calling for the Armed Forces Pay Review Body to look into how the lowest paid members of the Forces can be supported.
The Government has recently announced a new Cabinet Committee to look at support for the Armed Forces, but this is not nearly enough.
Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy said: “The Prime Minister has forgotten that it is Christmas. This is not a gift but a smokescreen. People will wonder whether more meetings between Ministers is really the best he can offer those who give so much to our country.
“We support any additional support for our Forces, but to those on the front-line who have had their allowances, pensions and pay cut a new Cabinet subcommittee will be little consolation.”
MP’s from all parties are speaking out by signing EDM 2520: Armed Forces Pay (check if your MP has signed here), but your view counts.
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Image: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011