Our Boys feel cost-of-living pinch as soldiers' pay satisfaction FALLS

Our Boys feel the cost-of-living pinch: Pay satisfaction among soldiers FALLS for the first time in four years – and MoD admits that economic crisis is part of the problem

  • Survey showed drop in happiness with basic pay for the first time since 2018 
  • Poll of 9,300 service personnel found soldiers and marines least happy 
  • Fewer than four in 10 other ranks (37%) happy with their basic rate of pay 
  • Report suggests ‘inflation and the cost of living’ may have been factor in drop 

British soldiers’ happiness with their pay has fallen for the first time in four years amid the cost-of-living crisis gripping Britain.

A new report by the Ministry of Defence found that financial satisfaction rates in the Armed Forces fell by four percentage points this year, for the first time since 2018.

The fall was driven by unhappiness among British Army soldiers and Royal Marines about their basic pay, with RAF and Royal Navy personnel more satisfied.

The situation worse among other ranks than officers, with fewer than four in 10 privates and NCOs (37 per cent) happy with their basic rate of pay, according to the report. 

Just 41 percent believe that the pay and benefits they receive are ‘fair’ for the work they do, down from 46 per cent last year.

And the report admits that the cost-of-living crisis is among the factors involved, along with a public sector pay freeze announced last year that limited increases to personnel earning less than £24,000 a year.

‘These announcements may have influenced the views of personnel regarding their pay and benefits’, it noted.

‘Other factors such as inflation and the cost of living may have also been a factor in the drop in satisfaction with pay reported this year.’

A new report by the Ministry of Defence found that financial satisfaction rates in the Armed Forces fell by four percentage points this year, for the first time since 2018.

The fall was driven by unhappiness among British Army soldiers (troops in Estonia pictured with Boris Johnson in March)  and Royal Marines, with RAF and Royal Navy personnel more satisfied.

The UK Regular Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey Results 2022 polled more than 9,300 British service personnel. It also found that satisfaction with service life had fallen five points since 2021 – though it attributes the previous higher level to the Covid pandemic. 

That was still below a recent peak in satisfaction reached in 2009, when British forces were still involved in both Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Shadow armed forces minister Luke Pollard, said: ‘Despite a cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation, Ministers are still pushing ahead with a £1.7Bn real-terms cut in day to day MOD spending.

‘This means less money for pay, housing and families, and the Defence Secretary should never have agreed to it.’

It comes as the strength of the British Army is set to fall to its lowest level since the Napoleonic wars.  

But the survey also found that pay was not in the top five reasons cited as a reason to quit the Forces in the three per cent of respondents who were leaving. They were: the impact on family and personal life, job satisfaction, opportunities outside the service, self morale and promotion prospects. 

An MoD spokesperson said: ‘We want to ensure our Armed Forces are properly rewarded for their service and offer a generous pension scheme, subsidised accommodation, food and a range of family benefits.

‘We also regularly review pay through the independent Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body and will shortly be setting out pay structures for this financial year.’

Ministers have already announced a review of service personnel’s pay and conditions.

Shadow armed forces minister Luke Pollard, said: ‘Despite a cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation, Ministers are still pushing ahead with a £1.7Bn real-terms cut in day to day MOD spending. ‘This means less money for pay, housing and families, and the Defence Secretary should never have agreed to it.’

The Haythornthwaite Review is expected to report in the spring of 2023 with an aim to modernise ‘and better reflect people’s changing expectations of work and ways of living in the 21st Century’.

It will be chaired by Rick Haythornthwaite, the chairman of Ocado and the AA, who has no military background.   

Mr Haythornethwaite, 65, known as ‘Slick Rick’, is an Oxford and MIT graduate who has previously worked in senior Roles for BP, Invensys, Network Rail and Mastercard.

Announcing his appointment in a written statement, Defence Minister Leo Docherty said he brought ‘a variety of experience as a chair(man) and a highly tuned strategic perspective’.

But he also donated £5,000 to Matt Hancock’s failed run to be Conservative leader in 2019, according to Electoral Commission records.    

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