Letter: Pay review for armed forces

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: In your article ('Armed forces review may axe pay grades', 15 February) you referred to the parliamentary question that I answered in the House on 9 February about our plans for a major independent review of service career and manpower structures and terms and conditions of service.

You went on to state what was not in my answer, that this review is part of the (and I quote) 'cost- saving 'Front Line First' scrutiny'. This conclusion is incorrect: the review of service career and manpower structures will not form part of the 'Front Line First' defence cost studies.

The review will need to take full account of developments that might flow from the individual defence costs studies which will be presented initially to ministers by April. But the aim of the independent review of service career and manpower structures and terms and conditions of service is not one of 'cost-cutting'. Our decision to undertake such a review is in recognition of the changes that have taken place in military commitments and deployment patterns.

Career and manpower structures need to take account of the ending of the Cold War and consequent changes in the pattern of deployment. The AFPRB commented in its 1994 report that the pay structure of the Armed Forces is over- complex and ripe for careful review. The Armed Forces Pension Scheme has not been examined in any detail since 1973. All this clearly points to the need for an independent review to ensure that we have arrangements which are appropriate to the early part of the 21st century.

The review is expected to last about a year, and this in itself clearly puts it outside the scope of the defence cost studies.

Yours faithfully,

JEREMY HANLEY

Minister of State for

the Armed Forces

Ministry of Defence

London, SW1

15 February

Comments