With our Armed Forces facing 20,000 redundancies, cuts of £250m this year to allowances, cuts to pensions through the indexation switch and now a freeze in their pay, Bob questions the Government’s commitment to the Military Covenant during yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions:
Mr Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East) (Lab): Is freezing the pay of young privates and corporals while they are fighting in Afghanistan, without reference to the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, a breach of the military covenant?
The Prime Minister: It is this Government who doubled the operational allowance, which is the best way to get money to the privates and the corporals in Afghanistan who are doing such a good job. The operational allowance, being a flat cash sum, is of disproportionate benefit to relatively low-paid people in the armed forces, whereas obviously a percentage increase would mean more money for the generals, the colonels and the brigadiers, rather than for the people on the front line. Looking at the operational allowance is crucial, but this Government have not just done that. We have extended the pupil premium to forces children, we have increased the council tax rebates for those who are serving, and for the first time we have written the military covenant into the law of our land. (Hansard 14 December 2011)