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Armed Forces Pay

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 19th December 2011.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 2:30 pm, 19th December 2011

What assessment he has made of the advice from the Armed Forces Pay Review Body; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond The Secretary of State for Defence

Apologies for the delay, Mr Speaker. The Armed Forces Pay Review Body reports annually to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and to me. Its next report is expected in early 2012.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

In the 2010 election, the Liberal Democrats promised to raise the pay of our lowest paid soldiers by as much as £6,000. The coalition is now ignoring the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, which will mean a real-terms cut, and the operational allowance, as I understand it, will benefit only a third of our armed forces personnel. Should not promises made to our armed forces be worth more than another abandoned Deputy Prime Minister election pledge?

Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond The Secretary of State for Defence

I have already said in answer to an earlier question that we have doubled the operational allowance. That is critical to troops on operations and is hugely appreciated. We have increased the pay of the lowest paid members of the armed forces, even during the pay freeze, by a fixed £250, which is a more significant percentage for those on the lowest pay levels. The hon. Lady can pontificate all she likes from the Labour Benches, but the problem that we are dealing with and that we have to deal with to give our armed forces the stability and confidence they want for the future is based on the legacy of debt from and undeliverable promises made by the previous Administration.