I beg to move,
That this House
notes that the pay of Armed Forces personnel has been capped at 1 per cent in 2017-18 and that this represents another below inflation pay settlement;
further notes that the size of the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy and Royal Marines is below stated targets;
notes that dissatisfaction with pay has been identified by service personnel as a reason for leaving their respective force;
and calls on the Government to end the public sector pay cap for the Armed Forces and give Armed Forces personnel a fair pay rise.
Our armed forces represent the very best of what this country stands for. Across the House, we recognise their dedication and their professionalism and, especially at this time of year, we honour the sacrifices that they make on our behalf. Yet when it comes to their pay, our armed forces personnel have not been treated with the fairness and decency that their service deserves. In every year since 2010, the Conservative party in government has made a conscious decision to give our brave men and women a real-terms pay cut. As a result, regardless of rising rents in service accommodation and cuts to tax credits, the pay that service personnel receive has lagged way behind inflation in each of the past seven years. This sorry state of affairs means that the starting salary of an Army private has been cut by over £1,000 in real terms since Labour left office. Is it any wonder that the Government are presiding over a crisis in recruitment and retention?