More Military Cuts

This is in The Telegraph today:

Forces face pay cut but senior officers refuse to surrender rail perk
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 25/04/2004)

The Ministry of Defence is facing angry protests over plans to cut the pay of thousands of Britain's troops at the same time as allowing senior officers to retain the perk of first class train travel.

Under the controversial cost-cutting measures, which are intended to make up for losses incurred before the war in Iraq, large numbers of service personnel will lose the extra pay they receive for performing specialist duties.

Geoff Hoon ordered cuts of £1 billion a year
Among those affected are pilots and aircrew, submariners, parachutists, bomb and ordnance disposal engineers, divers, linguists and even dog handlers.

Officials involved in drawing up the measures argued that members of the special forces should also face pay cuts, but the idea was rejected as too contentious.

A proposal that the first class train travel enjoyed by officers above the rank of major should be removed was also vetoed, adding to the anger of rank-and-file soldiers about their own pay cuts.

The cost-cutting proposals were accepted by the three Services chiefs during a meeting of the Defence Management Board last Thursday.

The board, which includes the heads of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, and Sir Kevin Tebbit, the Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Defence, is in the process of deciding on the future structures and budgets of each of the three Services.

The recommendations will be put to Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, next month. If approved, the cuts could come into force as early as 2005.

The budgetary problems within the MoD have been caused by the introduction of a new accounting system. It required that all future spending plans were to be based on the value of the department's assets, such as its tanks, jets and warships.

The Treasury, however, claimed that Mr Hoon's department had got its sums wrong and overestimated the value of its assets. The Defence Secretary has responded by ordering savings of more than £1 billion a year until 2005-2006.

Service pay is one of the most complex areas within the military. It not only varies according to rank, but also length of service. The process is further complicated by the service conditions of personnel qualified in specialist areas, such as flying duties, parachuting and diving.

Under current service pay and conditions, troops in receipt of specialist pay receive extra cash even if they are in a posting that prevents them from using their skills, such as a staff position in the MoD. Under the new proposals, however, only those servicemen and women using their specialist skills - such as pilots posted to an operational squadron - will receive specialist pay.

Flying pay is the most lucrative skill on offer to servicemen. Specialist aircrew, such as Chinook helicopter or Hercules transport aircraft pilots trained to work with the special forces, can boost their salaries by £49.31 a day or about £18,000 a year.

Those qualified to undertake deep and experimental diving can earn £247.61 per dive, while those selected to serve in the submarine service earn an extra £9.80 a day, which rises to a daily rate of £17.72 after 15 years.

Members of the Parachute Regiment are entitled to an additional £4.42 a day, providing they complete four parachute jumps a year.

British officers who join the Brigade of Gurkhas earn an extra £1.16 once they have passed an oral proficiency examination in Gurkhali - the language spoken by Nepalese Gurkhas.

During last Thursday's meeting it was also suggested that hundreds of thousands of pounds could be saved each year if senior officers lost the privilege of first class rail travel. That proposal was thrown out on the grounds that officers travelling to meetings by train require the quieter atmosphere of a first class carriage to prepare.

A senior Army officer said: "Thousands of servicemen and women are going to have their pay cut because senior officers and civil servants got their sums wrong. At the same time, those officials have decided that they can't possibly live without first class rail travel. It's a disgrace."

One RAF officer, who currently earns flying pay, said of the proposed cuts: "If that's what is going to happen, await the mass exodus."

A senior officer in the Parachute Regiment added: "The unintended consequence of this ruling will be that soldiers will leave the forces in their droves.

"The Parachute Regiment and the SAS are already losing men because they are being offered lucrative jobs working for security companies in Iraq. If their pay is going to be cut, they won't think twice about leaving - they'll think once."
This is disappointing but not surprising; as usual those who can't fight back are being targeted. Can you imagine the government trying to cut the pay & allowances of nurses, police officers, teachers or even politicians?

It would be interesting to see if the allowances of MOD's own civil servants will be affected. For example, the huge allowances they get on posting, such as having a washing machine, dishwasher, telephone and tv aerial installed at public expense, on top of disturbance allowances already higher than those of the military.

The civil servants from Contracts Branch, with whom I dealt until recently, used to travel to meetings by Club Class air ticket, in order to spout about money-saving! Their latest ploy is to save money by unilaterally changing the terms of the contract to remove their responsibility for paying for various items.

The depths to which this deeply unsavoury and cynical government will sink never cease to amaze me.

It seems appropriate to post this link again:
As a current NATO posted chap I love seeing the mighty arrive here. NATO regs are that you must be 3* or above to be treated well and get anything other than Cattle Class. It is wonderful to see them get all flustered and uppety, then deflate slowly. They just get on with it.

Fully agree with all the Civil Servants perks. I knew a couple of them that got themselves posted between 2 areas a couple of times. Got the MoD to fork out the differences in house costs and made it all back when they wangled a posting back to the cheaper area. Far more than we spend in a year I reckon. :roll:
The Sunday Times reports today that:

"In the past the government has publicly admitted only a 3% fall in productivity since Blair won office. Experts say the new figures suggest £20 billion a year of taxpayers' money - equivalent to almost 6p on basic rate of income tax - has been wasted on soaring wage claims and burgeoning bureaucracy, at the expense of frontline services.",,2087-1087272,00.html

The article goes on to describe how the Dear Leader has instructed the Office for National Statistics to change the way some of their figures are compiled so that the Party (New Labour - New Lies) can present a 'more credible story' at the next election.
This is why we need some sort of federation. There does not need to be the prospect of strike action, merely the "official" disapproval of the body representing AF personnel would make politicians think twice about cuts to terms and conditions and the very bad publicity this would generate.

When I get out (shortly) I will identify the local rags of the Armed Forces Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence and write to them, urging their electorate to consider the damage done to the Armed Forces when crossing the box on the ballot paper. It will achieve nothing but will make me feel better! :twisted:

Similar threads

Latest Threads