Under-paid and over there

Good to see this getting coverage..

Copyright 2004 MGN Ltd.
Sunday Mirror

October 24, 2004, Sunday



Angry father James Buchanan; Picture: ATEF HASSAN/REUTERS; A soldier from the Black Watch on patrol in Basra

Black Watch troops sent to fight in an Iraqi hell-hole will be paid LESS than if they were on exercises abroad.

The 850 troops from the battlegroup being switched from Basra to near Baghdad will also receive next to nothing in war zone benefits - while the American Marines they are relieving get pounds 175 extra a month.

Barmy Army rules mean squaddies facing bombs and bullets actually take home less cash than if they were on exercises in Canada or Germany.

A private in the regiment would be over pounds 100-a-month better off if he was training abroad, a corporal pounds 122 and an officer pounds 132.

Defence chiefs justify the decision by claiming soldiers don't need the extra money because they have nowhere to spend it and argue that other perks such as access to board games such as Monopoly, DVDs and free post compensate for the financial anomaly.

Last night the situation was condemned by the families of the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch, as well as MPs and senior military sources.

And one Basra veteran said: "It is real penny-pinching at its very worst and is treating war heroes shabbily.

"They say: 'Well you have nowhere to spend it in Basra because you can't go out boozing or go for a curry on a Friday night'.

"But that is just rubbish. I'm married and have got young children so I hardly go out anyway, and loads of my friends in the Army are in the same situation.

"They should throw this ludicrous rule out. People are leaving the Army early and this kind of Scrooge attitude is behind much of the dissatisfaction."

The American Marines, who the Black Watch are relieving, get pounds 175-a-month more in war zone benefits.

Their wages are also paid tax-free and the insurance if they are killed or injured is tens of thousands of pounds above what is offered to our servicemen and women.

James Buchanan, 56, from Arbroath, Angus, who has two sons in the Black Watch, said: "It's disgusting. They're putting their lives in danger and they're getting about pounds 13,000-a-year to fight and keep this country free."

And last night Shadow Armed Forces Minister Keith Simpson also condemned the "bizarre" rules.

He said: "They have got to change the system especially when British servicemen and women are now more likely to be in a war zone than not."

An MoD spokeswoman said: "It is wrong to compare the allowance given to troops on exercise abroad to the welfare package they get on active service because they serve different purposes."

The revelations over pay come just three days after it was announced that the troops from the Black Watch are being sent to a trouble spot 30 miles south of Baghdad. The 850-strong group - which includes a detachment from the Royal Navy's 40 Commando Marines - will free up US troops in Babil province for an onslaught against insurgents in Fallujah.

Back at home representatives of the Black Watch and Scotland's five other regiments joined forces to protest against merger proposals.

In Iraq, the Black Watch will be replaced by Scots Guards, if the fighting is not over by Christmas. That prospect seemed increasingly unlikely yesterday when a car bomb at a base west of Baghdad killed 16 Iraqi police. A suicide driver killed four Iraqi guards south of Samarra. Two guards were also killed in an attack north of the city.

-Last night a plea for the release of British charity worker hostage Margaret Hassan was made by Denis Caillaux, boss of Care International.
Forces_Sweetheart said:
... Defence chiefs justify the decision by claiming soldiers don't need the extra money because they have nowhere to spend it and argue that other perks such as access to board games such as Monopoly, DVDs and free post compensate for the financial anomaly.
Good point, "Defence chiefs", access to board games certainly does it for me. :roll:

As for free post, well, if you are in your home station your missus doesnt typically write to you so much. Free post is not a perk compared to normal life, it is compensation for what would otherwise be extra personal and family cost on operations. Nor do the alleged "service chiefs" (probably the very same "AG's brain" mentioned on another thread) mention that "free post" was actually cut back in April, as far as I am aware.
Board games: As provided by the soldiers themselves, I dont beleive this scrooge government could justify paying for board games.

Buffoon said:
Board Games, pah the boys are to busy patrolling and trying to get comms to have time to play board games. Although we have incorporated Tetris into the new Euro Fighter.
No wonder retention is so abysmal when our young men and women in combat have to suffer such indignities. I am amazed at the callous indifference of the politicians towards those they happily send in harms way.

Which REMF had the audacious stupidity to say that board games, the odd E-Mail and free postage were adequate compensation for remunerative inequities? Makes my blood boil.
I think you'll find that even the good old "X" factor no longer compensates us for the crap an Op tour subjects us too.

The masters, Political and Military are out-of-touch with things. We are no longer Soldiers of the 80's or 90's, although these idiots think we are and treat us such.

What is needed is an overhaul of our pay system. All Pay 2000 did was cut the wage bill for the MoD and shaft us.

If you want a Professional Army, pay it for being so. Not just the cursory miserly pay rise on the odd occasion :evil:
there is a game of Risk in the lab at Shaibah.
dui-lai said:
We are no longer Soldiers of the 80's or 90's:
Speak for yourself!
I think dui-lai was speaking of our professional outlook as opposed to our dress sense.
or hairstyles
It's Tommy this and Tommy that and through him out the brute, but he needs **** all when the guns begin to shoot.
Wonder what a MP's allowances are on a visit to the lads.
The irony of this is that Lord Ashcroft - A Peer of the realm and member of the house of Lords is allowed to pay no income tax as he is based in Belize for Tax reasons, but based in the UK for mebership of the House of Lords reasons :?

Yet ask your RAO is you can get a tax rebate for living overseas for 6 months or more (which is the inland revenues minimum time limit) and you'll be told that you aren't allowed to as being in the Forces means you can't do this.

Penny pinching W@ankers the lot of them. It wouldn't cost that much and it would make going on Ops a lot mopre platable. :D

Stands back and awaits responses along the lines of - You're a soldier, paid to go on Ops it shouldn't matter where you are, the X-Factor (Not the TV Show) covers it Blah Blah Blah.

Well to get my response to these response in ealy (it makes sense if you think about it) - Boll*ks.
Welfare Package? Board Games, DVDs, Free Post? What planet are these cretinous ba$tards living on? One thing you can always count on the pollys for, they'll say anything to try and justify not paying the Forces a realistic amount. Even more so when operating alongside the Spams. :evil:

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