Labour demands pay rise for Army as pressure rises over public sector wage cap

14th September, 2017 9:29 am

Ex servicemen

Labour aims to capitalise on Tory disarray over the public sector pay cap by today demanding an end to the real-terms cuts faced by soldiers over the last seven years.

The call for ministers to lift the “cruel” pay cap for Armed Services personnel comes hours after Labour won DUP support for two Commons motions calling for higher pay for NHS staff and the scrapping of another rise in university tuition fees. The Tories did not both to vote in the Opposition Day debates.

Today Jeremy Corbyn argues for an end to the “sorry state of affairs” which Labour says has seen the average pay of an Army private fall by £1,000 a year since 2010, or 5.3 per cent in real terms.

Corbyn – who has been accused by his critics of being a pacifist – now wants to see fair pay for soldiers.

“This cruel pay cap is putting real pressure on Forces personnel and their families. Along with rising rents in service accommodation and changes to tax credits, this government is trying to balance the books on the backs of our servicemen and women,” Corbyn said.

“This sorry state of affairs cannot be allowed to go on. It is high time for the government to do the right thing and give our Armed Forces a pay rise.”

The size of the regular army is now just 77,940 compared to a 2020 target of 82,000.

Nia Griffith, shadow defence secretary, said members of the Armed Forces had been “leaving in droves”.

“We now have a real crisis in recruitment and retention across all three services. If this government were serious about addressing this it would scrap this harsh pay cap immediately.

“As well as doing the right thing by our servicemen and women, this is also about securing Britain’s defence capabilities by ensuring that our Armed Forces continue to attract and retain the brightest and best.”

Labour will stage a Commons debate at 3pm today on Armed Forces pay.

 

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