Troops paid less in Basra than Belfast

Discussion in 'Army Pay, Claims & JPA' started by MrPVRd, Apr 27, 2004.

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    BRITISH soldiers in Iraq are being paid £5 a day less than those serving in Northern Ireland, despite the increasingly dangerous conditions they are facing.

    Some soldiers who have served in Northern Ireland are angry that their pay packets in Iraq are smaller than those of colleagues who are exposed to fewer daily dangers.

    On Saturday, The Scotsman revealed that more than 2,200 injured British soldiers had been evacuated from Iraq since the start of the war, and that Britain was in talks with its coalition partners to send out more soldiers to replace the 1,300-strong Spanish contingent, which is being withdrawn.

    Attacks on troops are on the increase, and only yesterday the Ministry of Defence said that another British soldier had been wounded when a suspected home-made bomb exploded in Basra as his convoy went past.

    British soldiers say they are now expected to face greater dangers than at any time since the end of the war, and some have expressed frustration that their efforts and the risks they face are not reflected in their pay packets.

    "The ironic thing is that many of us have recently served in Northern Ireland and you get more for being out there than you do for coming to Iraq," said one. "We keep hearing them talking about the peace dividend and how things are getting so much better in Northern Ireland that they can cut the size of the army, but that is certainly not the case over here in Iraq.

    "It is getting more dangerous here by the day."

    The MoD confirmed that soldiers serving in Northern Ireland received £5.29 a day residence supplement, which a spokeswoman said was intended to cover the cost of telephone calls home, newspapers and travel to and from leave.

    In place of the allowance, soldiers in Iraq received 20 minutes of free phone calls a week, access to newspapers and were provided with travel into and out of Iraq, added the spokeswoman.

    And she said it was not MoD policy to pay soldiers more because they were in more dangerous locations.

    "It would not be fair. We cannot divide operations up as higher or lower risk because all areas have an element of risk," she said.

    British soldiers complain they are the poor cousins of troops from the United States, who receive £110 a month combat pay and £60 a month to cover the cost of toiletries. US forces serving in Iraq pay no tax, but British soldiers are taxed as normal. There are other wide disparities, with a British war widow entitled to £26,750 while a US war widow receives a £175,000 lump sum.

    Discussions were continuing yesterday between Britain and its coalition partners about who should fill the gap left by the withdrawal of Spanish forces around the city of Najaf.

    While British commanders are concerned about the extra strain on the already-stretched UK forces and the need to set up and guard new supply chains, they are also attracted to the idea because of the opportunity it provides to keep US troops out of Najaf.

    Senior officers, including Brigadier Nick Carter, the man in charge of British troops in the south, have voiced concerns about the adverse effect on Shia support for the coalition if US troops attempt to enter the city to seize the rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr.

    Spanish soldiers have been pulled out by their new prime minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. One option involves Britain - which has about 7,500 troops in Iraq - taking over control of Spain’s divisional area, with some reports suggesting that British troops could also be asked to go to Baghdad. On Saturday The Scotsman reported that Britain was in talks with other coalition partners about what to do in Najaf.

    Meanwhile the Foreign Office announced that one of its most senior Middle East experts is to become Britain’s new ambassador to Iraq on 1 July after the coalition hands over sovereignty to a transitional Iraqi government.

    With officials indicating that a UK military and civilian presence in Iraq was likely to be necessary for several years, the Foreign Office also announced the creation of a consulate general in Basra and a representative office in northern Iraq.

    The appointment of Edward Chaplin, the current director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign Office, will coincide with the opening of a British embassy in Baghdad.

    The appointment of such a senior figure will be seen as a sign of the high priority being given to the post.

    The Foreign Office said the new embassy will comprise a large political section, with a smaller consular and visa section, an economic/energy section, a defence section and a commercial section

    :idea: Less to spend it on.... :twisted:
  2. Jolly nice of MOD to pay for travel into Iraq!! [/quote]

  3. What a curious statement for MoD to make, because that's exactly what they do with civilians who deploy, such as MoD Fire Service and civil servants. They receive 'Operational Allowance', which is calculated for each operation, and can be adjusted to reflect the level of risk and how hard conditions are.

    At the moment, OA for Iraq is £1000/month. This is, of course, in addition to civil servants' Luggage Allowance (£400), and Clothing Allowance (£300), and others....
  4. Gravelbelly is right - we get this x factor all the time and apparently are better off than if we got the benefits other nations do on deployment only. It does however pi55 you off when you lose money on deployment, I lost about a quid a day deploying to Bos from BFG in '97 - not a happy camper then.

    Interesting that part of the NI pay is for calls home, newspapers and travel home - does that mean Irish soldiers should get nothing in NI but mainland pay when in Eng, Scot or Wales?? Also papers and calls home must be the same price from NI as anywhere else in the UK?
  5. They may get pais less, but you get far more for your dollar than we do for our pound
  6. MDN makes a good point - the difference on common necessities like food and petrol is huge. Also a huge proportion of the US forces are deployed outside the mainland US, and all the time they are away they reap the benefits of no tax and their equivilant of LOA, so in the longrun they are much better off. I'm working with the Yanks on exercise at the moment. Over a few beers one guy, a NATO OR6 (Brit Sgt equiv) was telling me he is clearing over 6000 US a month while he is posted in Europe, when he took all his allowances into account. We are the same rank, and considering his lower basic rate of pay he's much better off than me. Cant drink for sh1t though :)
  7. IS Ski Geek

    IS Ski Geek War Hero Moderator

    Yeah but Boney. I heard you couldn't drink for dog toffee either !!!

  8. the MOD gives you free scoff and trendy clothes, pah reporters, only mention the bad things :roll:
  9. People in glass houses ISG
  10. One of the issues here is how much extra people get paid in NI. Having recently done a 6 monther in Province, it pi55es you off to receive less than the resident units when you are doing far more work for it. We couldn't get anything out of resident units at weekends in the way of support.

    I am not saying that resident troops shouldn't receive more than a contemporary in GB, but I think that currently allowances are unfairly targeted at resident troops rather than those on emergency tours who are living and working in far worse conditions.
  11. Boney_m wrote:

    They only reap the benifits of no tax if they are in a designated combat zone, i.e. Balkans or Iraq. If they are anywhere else then they still pay.

    You also say that the OR6 was clearing 6000 US a month, at the current exchange rates that is only about 3000 GBP and this would also be taking into account the wedge that they get to live on the economy (not in gov quarters). This amount is a rank ranged amount and they only recieve the amount that the hire rate is, so it should not really be counted on what they clear. For example, in Heidelberg, some of the hirings come in at around about 1800 euros a month (1200 GBP), taking Sgt X pay down to around 1800 GBP per month. Then remove the COLA (LOA) from his pay and ask yourself who earns more, us or them?
  12. Point taken - that wasnt explained to me, and i was only going from what i had been told by the american in question.

    I never disagreed that we are paid better at basic rate, but at face value they seemed to be better off.
  13. As the saying goes, my friend, 'the grass is always greener on the other side.'

    Personally, having worked with the SPAMS for 2 years now, there is no way on this earth that I would want their pay and conditions.
  14. As the saying goes, my friend, 'the grass is always greener on the other side.'

    Personally, having worked with the SPAMS for 2 years now, there is no way on this earth that I would want their pay and conditions.