Labour calls for Armed Forces pay rise
Labour will use a debate later today to call on the Government to boost the pay of Britain’s troops.
The move comes after ministers announced the seven year long 1% public sector pay cap was to be dropped, with prison staff and police officers to be among the first workers to benefit.
Ministers said police officers would get a 1% rise plus a 1% bonus, with prison officers getting a 1.7% rise.
However Labour say the current pay levels in the military – which were frozen in 2011-2012 and have risen by just 1% since 2013 – are leading to record numbers of military personnel quitting.
At present the Armed Forces Pay Review Body sets the pay of service personnel within the context of the Government’s pay cap.
Labour say their own figures reveal show that the starting salary of an Army Private has dropped by 5.3% in real terms since 2010 – or £1,000 a year.
Leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “This cruel pay cap is putting real pressure on Forces personnel and their families.
"Along with rising rents in service accommodation and changes to tax credits, this Government is trying to balance the books on the backs of our servicemen and women.
“This sorry state of affairs cannot be allowed to go on. It is high time for the Government to do the right thing and give our Armed Forces a pay rise.”
Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffith, said the Government needed to act to stem the “crisis in recruitment”.
“Armed Forces personnel have been leaving in droves, because this Government stubbornly refuses to reward their service with a proper pay award.
“We now have a real crisis in recruitment and retention across all three services. If this Government were serious about addressing this it would scrap this harsh pay cap immediately.
“As well as doing the right thing by our servicemen and women, this is also about securing Britain’s defence capabilities by ensuring that our Armed Forces continue to attract and retain the brightest and best.”