Top brass under fire over pay rises and perks worth millions

#1
From the Independant

Senior officers accused of being 'feather-bedded' as troops wait for vital gear

By Jonathan Owen and Brian Brady

Sunday, 13 September 2009


Britain's senior defence bosses are enjoying the benefits of a hefty £21m combined salary and benefits pot that has increased by millions in only 12 months.

Figures obtained from the Ministry of Defence reveal that the total salaries of the 10 most senior military officers rose from £1.6m in 2007-2008 to £1.74m in the past financial year. The Defence Board members will also share a pension pot of £17m – up from £14m only a year ago – and lump-sum payments totalling over £2.4m.

Details of the generous package offered to Britain's top brass even as the military is preparing for funding cuts emerged as the MoD revealed that the former head of the British Army picked up £160,000 in "perks" during his final year in the job.

The Government was accused of attempting to "smear" General Sir Richard Dannatt earlier this year, when it emerged that the MoD had received a series of freedom of information requests seeking details of the bill for his accommodation and other costs.

It was subsequently claimed that General Dannatt, who retired last month, was a "budget general" whose most "extravagant" spending covered official entertaining carried out on behalf of the military. He also took a pay cut last year, bringing his salary down from £175,000 to £165,000.

The MoD has revealed that the general lived in official accommodation leased at £108,408 a year, with a £10,000 cleaning bill. The annual leasing cost of his official limousine came to almost £5,000 a year – plus £34,662 for a chauffeur. Parliamentary answers published in the House of Lords also revealed that General Dannatt took 40 trips within the UK on military helicopters when it was claimed there was a shortage of aircraft for front-line troops in Afghanistan.

Lord Foulkes, who sparked a storm of protest when it emerged that he had requested details of the "perks", said the answers suggested the most senior military officers were being "feather-bedded". He said: "Someone did a good PR job for the general, but these details show many of the military are benefiting from extravagant perks at a time when MPs are being criticised for their expenses."

Nine executive directors of the 10-strong Defence Board accrued £210,800 in benefits-in-kind, such as chauffeur-driven cars and "official service residences". The latest figure is sharply up on the £194,400 of 2007-2008. Pay also rose across the board – with the notable exception of General Dannatt.

The financial details, revealed in the MoD's annual report for 2008-09, show that the bill for salaries paid to Defence Board directors is up from £1,685,000 in 2007-08 to £1,740,000. Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff, received a pay rise of up to £10,000, taking his salary to £235,000. He received a £15,000 pay rise in 2007-08. As well as the use of an official service residence at a cost to the taxpayer of £38,600, he has a pension fund worth more than £2.5m, which will pay him £130,000 a year.

And it is not just the Defence Board that is enjoying increased rewards. MoD senior civil servants raked in more than £1.5m in bonus payments in each of the past two years – at an average of around £8,000 each.

The performance-related payments come in stark contrast to the MoD's difficulties over its finances: it has had its accounts qualified by the National Audit Office, with more than £6bn worth of assets unaccounted for, and some £268m wrongly paid out in specialist pay and expenses.

These are not huge increases in salary being on average £14k per headshed, in the case of Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup its only a 4.4% pay rise. Compare these to MPs such as Jacqui Smith who classed her sisters house as her main allowing her to claim £20k on her real main home which was her "second home". The increases are above inflation but on par with MPs and the likes of Lord Foulkes trying to point the finger of shame?
 
#2
He (Foulkes) said: "Someone did a good PR job for the general, but these details show many of the military are benefiting from extravagant perks at a time when MPs are being criticised for their expenses."

Senior officer has driver - shock horror. Senior officer doesn't have to live in the mess - gasp. Senior officer gets paid more than Jack Percy and Royal etc - outrage. Senior officer moves in circles where there's a chance of an invite to dinner, and may have to reciprocate - harumph. Senior officer travels first class - fume.

Non story, sour grapes. Foulkes. Foulke off.
 
#5
I am resisting getting on the outrage bus, in the hope that in 7 or so months time, this vindictive and appalling government and it's ministers, elected or unelected, will be consigned to the outhouse of history. I don't really care who gets in next, as long as it's not them, or their mates, or their kids.

If they're really worried about the pay of 10 most senior military officers, and trying to make some moral capital out of it, I would more than happily urge research the pay and benefits of not just ministers, but heads of quangos, sponsored political research thinktanks etc to really put it in perspective. We're not talking about 10 people here, but 100 and 1000s of snouts in trought, all in the name of patronage by this morally bankrupt and hopefully unelectable govt.
 
#6
The Government was accused of attempting to "smear" General Sir Richard Dannatt earlier this year, when it emerged that the MoD had received a series of freedom of information requests seeking details of the bill for his accommodation and other costs.


Which is exactly what this article is. Read only the headline like the majority of the UK can manage and your smear job is done.
 
#7
This has got to be the most obvious and blatant poltical scorched earth policy ever seen in the history of the United Kingdom..... Insha Allah, Labour will be sitting in the cheap seats, whilst we have a new ruling party and new opposition installed next year. Trying to smear a General who has spent 2 years defending his army... then to trying to smear the new General's daughter before his arse has even hit the seat.... where will it end???

Hopefully with a thud when Brown's and his part's arses land on the pavement as they are is kicked out.

Watching the Last Night of The Proms on tv last night.... with Land of Hope and Glory being sung by thousands of fellow Brits and millions around the world.... I never thought I'd have tears in my eyes, with thoughts of what this hopeless party has done to our Great country. Election Day cannot come sooner!
 
#8
its not just going to be top brass under scrutiny here, i see the axe falling on 'middle management', eg why do COs need a car and driver, a big house and official entertainments allowances etc...sadly a sign of the times we live in
 
#9
Did Foulkes answer this question from his Scottish Parliament funded house at home in Scotland or from his House of Lords funded home in London or even from his recent taxpayer funded trip to the Carribean, where he apparently has a special professional interest necessitating regular visits.

More likely the request came as he crawled through his own Pish in the gutter as he supped more single malt with an equally odious Independant bottom feeding journalist.

How does this lowlife keep his job? Oh yes - a close friend and confidant of the PM and Lord Goebels
 
#10
Danny_Dravot said:
its not just going to be top brass under scrutiny here, i see the axe falling on 'middle management', eg why do COs need a car and driver, a big house and official entertainments allowances etc...sadly a sign of the times we live in
It already is there is a "study" going on at the moment with just this in mind.
 
#12
Danny_Dravot said:
its not just going to be top brass under scrutiny here, i see the axe falling on 'middle management', eg why do COs need a car and driver, a big house and official entertainments allowances etc...sadly a sign of the times we live in
You forgot to mention the "perk" of a CO's bugler, and with a silver bugle. Some infantry COs just don't know when they are well off.
 
#13
Senior officers pay is set by the Senior Salary Review Body (the same body that determines MP pay).

Taking the example given of CDS receiving £15,000 and then £10,000 rises, the rises appear to be the combination of CDS moving up a band and the SSRB increasing each band. If you compare the same band (CDS band 4), the SSRB awarded an increase of 2.2% this year to senior officers (not taking into account changes in the x-factor for 2 and 3-stars.

For comparison, the same body awarded MPs and MSPs a rise of 2.33% this year.
 

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