The Conservative Party has given a commitment to double the Operational Allowance, which was introduced under the present government in 2006. Unsurprisingly for the party in government which recently accepted the AFPRB recommendations 2010, the Labour Party manifesto gives no specific commitment about increasing pay, but has a general statement that "The growth in the core defence budget has also enabled us to guarantee fair pay for all our forces, including the first ever tax-free bonus for those on operations abroad". I understand that the Liberal Democrat manifesto coming out about now has a commitment to increase the pay of junior ranks, which in principle would be welcome. What I initially heard via media was that this might involve an increase for all junior ranks who are deployable, an interesting reversal of the Conservative proposal to double the Operational Allowance. However, the Lib Dem spokesman on Radio 5 Live this morning seemed to be saying that the increase would go up to the rank of Sgt but not Lt. Given the existing OR-3 and OF-1 pay scales, I was surprised to hear that when I was interviewed later on the same programme, but I reserved judgement until the details are available shortly. I did say it was great that all three major parties have given prominence this time to issues affecting the armed forces, even if some of it is "window-dressing".