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David Cameron sacks adviser in row over Armed Forces Pay

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David Cameron sacks adviser in row over Armed Forces Pay

Post  Panda on Fri 15 Mar - 8:08

David Cameron sacks adviser in row over Armed Forces pay


The head of the independent body responsible for military pay has been
sacked by David Cameron after calling for servicemen to be given a rise to
compensate for Coalition defence cuts.









Prof Smith, right, said he had
been willing to serve another three-year term, but was told by Downing Street
that he could not do so Photo:
EPA






By James Kirkup, Deputy Political
Editor

10:30PM GMT 14 Mar 2013


430 Comments




The Telegraph has learnt that Prof Alasdair Smith has lost his post as
chairman of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. Military campaigners have
criticised the “vindictive” decision to end Prof Smith’s tenure.


The decision to remove him was made weeks after he defied an order to limit
pay rises for troops and told ministers that Services personnel needed more
money to reflect the additional pressure put on them by redundancies and cuts.



The review body’s annual report was published on Thursday, calling for a 1
per cent increase in basic pay for soldiers, sailors and airmen. The body also
recommended a 0.5 per cent rise in the “X-factor”, a supplement added to Forces
wages to reflect the hardships and uncertainties of military life. The level of
X-factor varies according to rank, but is supposed to increase overall pay to 14
per cent more than a comparable civilian salary.


The Government said that it had not accepted the review body’s call for an
increase in the X-factor.


The Treasury has said that annual public sector pay rises due next month
should be capped at 1 per cent. That is below the rate of inflation, meaning a
real-terms cut. Last year, ministers told the review body that the 1 per cent
cap should apply to the Armed Forces too.



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None the less, Prof Smith’s body concluded that cuts had led to a
“deterioration in the conditions of military life”, so an additional 0.5 per
cent rise in the salary supplement would be justified this year.

The extra pay was needed to reflect the increasing strain on personnel,
including “turbulence, danger and separation from home and family”, the report
said.

The Ministry of Defence said that troops would get the 1 per cent increase in
their basic pay next month.

However, the MoD said it was not able to accept the call for an extra 0.5 per
cent rise in the supplement because of additional costs involved. The department
said the 0.5 per cent rise would remain “under consideration” by ministers as
part of a broader expenditure review.

A final ruling to reject the increased pay for the Armed Forces would cause
political difficulties for ministers, who have faced widespread criticism over
defence cuts.

Those cuts will lead to the loss of 30,000 posts across the three Services.
The Royal Navy will be without a working aircraft carrier for several years and
armoured units such as the Desert Rats will lose their tanks.

The report was submitted to No 10 in January. Late last month, Prof Smith was
told that his term as chairman would not be renewed when it expired this month.


Prof Smith, a Sussex University economist, said he had been willing to serve
another three-year term chairing the body, but was told by Downing Street that
he could not do so.

It is understood that No 10 made the decision even though senior figures in
the MoD had wanted Prof Smith to serve another term.

Independent members of the pay body have also written to Mr Cameron to raise
concerns about Prof Smith’s removal.

Prof Smith confirmed that he had been removed from his post against his
wishes.

He said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to do this job for the last
three years. I have enjoyed doing it. Had the Government asked me to continue, I
would have agreed.”

He said he stood by his call for an additional pay rise for the Armed Forces,
arguing that Services personnel deserved higher wages. “It was a very carefully
considered recommendation based on the increased pressure on Services personnel
and their families in current circumstances” including the redundancy programme,
he said.

Douglas Young, the chairman of the British Armed Forces Federation, said the
decision to remove Prof Smith from his post seemed “vindictive”. “If Prof
Smith’s appointment is not being renewed when he is happy to go on serving in
the post, it does raise questions about the independence of the AFPRB and is a
cause for deep concern.”

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said that the MoD could not afford the
additional pay rise, which officials estimate could cost up to £40 million.

“The AFPRB’s recommendations are to be accepted in full, except for the
recommendation to increase X-factor, which would result in costs for which the
department has not currently budgeted.

“This recommendation is therefore under consideration as part of a wider
review of departmental expenditure and I will inform the House of the result in
due course.”

A Downing Street spokesman said Prof Smith was not dismissed, and that after
the standard three years in the post a decision was made not to reappoint him.
He said the decision was made before the AFPRB submitted its report.

After reports from other pay review bodies, thousands of other public sector
employees, including most NHS staff, will also get a 1 per cent pay rise next
month. GPs will get a 1.3 per cent rise, however.

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Re: David Cameron sacks adviser in row over Armed Forces Pay

Post  Panda on Fri 15 Mar - 8:18

I think the Armed forces in Britain have been treated very shabbily , at a time when they are most needed and more likely to be killed being sent to
other Countries to defend Governments plagued by terrorists. I think Britain should copy Switzerland and declare itself Neutral , ban all immigration except for those who have jobs to come to, get the young unemployed to do work for their Community , disband the House of Lords .....what else???

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