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Volume 932: debated on Tuesday 24 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage rise Service men will receive on average after increased charges for accommodation, etc., are taken into account.

Adult Service men have received supplements to pay ranging between £2·50 and £4 a week which represents an average increase for all Service men of 4·8 per cent. The increases in accommodation charges range between £1·05 and £2·52 a week for married quarters, and between 35p and £1·12 a week for single accommodation. The food charge has been increased by £1·12 a week and the garage charge by 14p a week. The extent to which these increases bear on the individual Service man varies enormously, according to whether or not he lives in Service accommodation, his marital status, his rank and so on. To calculate an average pay increase net of charges and weighted by all these factors would be difficult and possibly misleading.


asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he intends to make a further increase in Service pay and allowances from 31st July 1977.

Any increase beyond that recently announced and effective from 1st April 1977 will depend on the arrangements which follow the end of the second year of the Government's counter-inflation policy. In this context I will, of course, ensure that the needs of the Armed Forces are fully taken into account. Meanwhile, allowances which compensate Service personnel for expenses incurred in the course of their duties continue to be increased when necessary to compensate for rising costs.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what comparison he has made between the weekly pay and allowances of an able seaman in the Royal Navy, and the current level of average industrial earnings.

Evidence of pay levels outside for jobs comparable in skill and responsibility to jobs in the Services is collected for the Review Body on Armed Forces Pay. Various indices and points of comparison are used, including evidence of earnings indicated by the New Earnings Survey. Comparison at the able seaman level with the current level of average industrial earnings is not a very useful indication in isolation and has not been made.