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Armed Forces: Foreigners

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the cost of making retrospective wage payments to (a) Commonwealth soldiers and (b) soldiers of other nationalities who served in the British armed forces between 1947 and 2004 to make their earnings equivalent to those of UK service people. (280272)

All non-British personnel now serving in the British armed forces have exactly the same pay arrangements as UK personnel and there are currently no plans to undertake a retrospective review. It has long been the policy of successive Governments not to implement changes to pay policy retrospectively, a policy that has been applied across the public sector in the United Kingdom. Accordingly, no estimate has been made of the cost of retrospective treatment in either case, and to do so would involve disproportionate cost. Additionally, pay records are kept for seven years before destruction, so individual cases could not be assessed beyond the last seven years. Given the number of personnel involved the costs would be significant.