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Overseas Territories: Regiments

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria are used to determine the (a) pay structure and (b) revisions to the pay structure of soldiers in (i) the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, (ii) the Royal Bermuda Regiment and (iii) military units of other Overseas Territories; what the (A) rates of pay and (B) conditions are of (1) soldiers in those regiments and (2) soldiers in the UK armed forces at equivalent ranks; and if she will make a statement. (111767)

Pay rates for UK service personnel are recommended by the independent Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body (AFPRB), which reports annually to my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary. The AFPRB bases its recommendations on broad comparability with the pay of civilian occupations of similar job weight and responsibility within the UK. To this basic pay is then added an additional element called the “X-factor” (currently 13 per cent. of basic pay). This adjustment to military pay is recommended by the AFPRB in recognition of the differences between conditions of service experienced by members of the UK armed forces over a full career and conditions in UK civilian life, which cannot be taken directly into account in assessing pay comparability. The “X-factor” is paid to service personnel (up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent at the mid pay point, beyond which it tapers) throughout their service careers—regardless of where they are serving—and is pensionable.

The 13 per cent. “X-factor” is for regular personnel and some reservists, particularly those who are mobilised. The majority of reservists, however, receive 5 per cent. or 0 per cent. “X-factor” reflecting the different levels of commitment from those of regular personnel.

All UK service personnel are on Pay 2000, an incremental structure designed to recognise performance, length of service, and qualifications. In the case of other ranks there are two pay spines—higher and lower—and personnel are allocated to them according to their trade and rank.

Basic pay is part of a wider remuneration package payable to service personnel which includes specialist pay e.g. flying pay or parachute pay, to recruit and retain personnel in specific branches or arms within the services. Various allowances are also payable, such as a separation allowance, to compensate personnel for time away from their permanent base and separation from their families.

Members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment (RGR) are on the same pay structure as UK regular forces, but with a lower level of “X-factor”, 5 per cent., to reflect their different level of commitment. RGR reservists receive an “X-factor” of 2.5 per cent. Where members of the RGR volunteer for service with UK regular forces, however, they receive the same remuneration package as their UK counterparts. Pay rates for the Regiment are adjusted annually by the Ministry of Defence in accordance with the increases recommended by the AFPRB. The RGR is paid for by the UK Government.

The criteria used to determine the pay structure and revisions to the pay structure, and the conditions of service for the Bermuda Regiment, and the Falkland Islands Defence Force are a matter for the Governments of those Overseas Territories in accordance with their delegated responsibilities. They are not funded by the Government.

The Overseas Territories’ military units exist primarily for local defence, whereas the UK armed forces have an expectation of worldwide service. The respective conditions of service of these organisations will therefore be tailored accordingly.

As the information requested on pay scales is lengthy, it has been placed in the Library of the House.