As the House is aware, pay rates are recommended by the independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body, and by the Senior Salaries Review Body for the most senior officers. The next set of recommendations are expected in the spring.
Does the Minister share my concern that all three services are running below strength and that the delay in lifting the armed forces pay cap and in prioritising recruitment will only exacerbate the problem?
I hope the whole House would agree that pay is not the reason why people join the armed forces. Nor is it the reason why people choose to leave the armed forces, but we do not want it to become one. That is why I am pleased that the Armed Forces Pay Review Body has been liberated from the 1% pay freeze that has existed for a number of years.
The 2017 armed forces continuous attitude survey found that satisfaction with the basic rate of pay and pension is at the lowest level ever recorded, with nearly half of service personnel stating that their pay and benefits are not fair for the hard work they do. How bad do things have to get before the Government take this seriously?
I repeat: the important situational change is that the 1% pay freeze has been lifted. It is up to the pay review body to make its recommendations. We should also recognise that it is not simple basic pay. There is a complex process involved in armed forces pay, including progression pay, the X factor and a variety of allowances that must also be incorporated and considered.