http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8232737.stm The junior ranks of the armed forces should get an immediate Â£6,000 pay rise to help boost morale, the Lib Dems say. It was "shameful" that many privates on their first tour of duty earned less than police constables and junior firefighters, leader Nick Clegg said. He said the move, costing about Â£300m, could be part funded by cutting 10,000 "desk" jobs at the Ministry of Defence. Ministers said pay deals for the armed forces had been among the best in the public sector in the past three years. All military personnel were awarded a 2.8% pay rise earlier this year after the government accepted the recommendations of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. As a result, the basic pay of a private on operations rose to between Â£16,681 and Â£25,887. 'Dissatisfaction' But opposition parties have continued to press for higher pay and better accommodation to reflect the armed forces continuous involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. The Lib Dems said there was "widespread dissatisfaction" about pay levels among the lowest ranks at a time when young men and women were being asked daily to put their lives on the line. We can't continue to reward the bravery of lions with peanuts Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader They are proposing a Â£6,000 increase in basic pay for entry-level privates in the Army and their equivalents in the other services. This, they claim, would lift the annual salary of the lowest-paid privates from Â£16,681 to Â£22,680. They are also calling for longer-serving privates and lance corporals to get a Â£3,000 rise, which would take their average annual pay up to about Â£25,000. Corporals, sergeants and higher NCO ranks should get a Â£1,000 increase, equivalent to an extra Â£20-30 a week. Mr Clegg said poor pay levels were having a "dreadful impact" on morale in the armed forces. Job savings "Nobody can put a price on the sacrifices our troops make on our behalf but it is clear to everyone that pay levels are shamefully low for the lower ranks," he said. "We can't continue to reward the bravery of lions with peanuts. The Liberal Democrats will ensure that no soldier, sailor or airman goes into harm's way on less basic pay than a new recruit to the police or fire service." The salary increases can be paid for from within the Ministry of Defence's existing budget, the party argues. The estimated Â£300m required to fund the move should come from savings at the MoD, primarily from job cuts. The Lib Dems said it was "ridiculous" that the MoD employed two "desk-based" employees for every one serving member of personnel and the department could make do with 10,000 fewer civilian employees it deems "non-essential".