Nick launches 'Don't Short Change Our Troops' campaign

by Stephen Tall on September 2, 2009

It’s been a busy day for Nick… speaking out on the Prime Minister’s contortions over the release of Mr Al Megrahi, confirming his intention to accept Sky News’s invitation to a televised leaders’ debate, as well as launching a new Lib Dem campaign, this one aimed at increasing the pay of the lowest-paid troops by £6,000 a year.

Here’s the summary of the new proposals:

The proposals, which would mean that no service personnel in the Army, Navy or RAF would receive less basic annual pay than a new-entrant police constable or development-level firefighter, would be funded within the MoD’s existing budget.

Key points include:

* The lowest paid personnel would receive an increase of £6000 – placing them on £22,680 and an equal footing with a development-level firefighter or new-entrant police constable
* Privates and lance corporals would receive an average annual pay increase of over £3000, with the average annual basic pay across these two ranks rising to around £25,000
* Higher NCO ranks would receive an average annual pay increase of around £1,000

Launching the campaign today, Nick said:

Nobody can put a price on the sacrifices our brave service men and women make on our behalf. But it is painfully clear that pay levels are a national disgrace. Those who are prepared to die for this country deserve to be treated better. It is simply unacceptable that we have reached the point where we hear of some forces families having to rely on handouts. Widespread dissatisfaction over pay among the lower ranks has had a dreadful impact on morale.

“The Liberal Democrats would ensure that no soldier, sailor or airman goes into harm’s way on less basic pay than a new recruit to the police or fire service. We would increase the salary of the lowest-paid privates – many of whom are fighting now on the front line – by £6000 a year. This can be afforded with only a fraction of the sum wasted by the MoD on bloated bureaucracy, bungled procurement projects and an outdated Cold War missile defence system.

“Action is needed now to restore the military covenant between the Armed Forces and the British people. We must start with the scandalously low pay our troops receive.”

You can read more on the party’s Forces Focus website.