To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to review the payments made to British armed forces service men and women who are engaged in theatres of operation; what assessments he has made of payments made to members of armed forces from other countries engaged similarly; and if he will make a statement.
All payments made to service personnel are regularly reviewed, the majority of them by the independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body. These include basic pay; the X-factor, which takes account of the unique demands and circumstances of service life over a whole career; and allowances to compensate for particular disadvantages such as prolonged separation from home life. In addition a recent review of welfare support to service personnel on operations led to the introduction earlier this year of a new comprehensive operational welfare package. Where personnel receive this package, an overseas cost of living allowance is not usually payable.
A comparison of operational conditions of service in a wide range of NATO and non-NATO countries was undertaken by the UK last year. This showed that payments to UK service personnel over the course of a military career bear favourable comparison with those of any of our allies. While some countries pay their personnel more when deployed on operations, this is more than offset by lower levels of remuneration at other times.