HC Deb 15 February 2000 vol 344 cc478-9W
Mr. Alan Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the report and recommendations of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. [110524]

Mr. Duncan Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the annual armed forces pay review will be announced; and if he will make a statement. [109050]

Mr. Hoon

The 2000 Report of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body has been published today. Copies are available in the Vote Office and the Library of the House. I am grateful to the Chairman and members of the Review Body for the work they have put into them.

In the Comprehensive Spending Review the Government made it clear that public sector pay settlements would need to be fair and affordable and support budgeted public service improvements. In making their recommendations the AFPRB have taken into account a number of considerations, including the recruitment, retention and motivation of the armed forces and have recommended an increase in basic military salary of 3.3 per cent. for all ranks, with the exception of Privates, Lance Corporals, Captains and Lieutenants who should receive 3.8 per cent. An increase of 1 per cent. in X Factor is also recommended. The X Factor which has not been reviewed for five years, is paid as an addition to basic pay and reflects the differences between conditions of service experienced by members of the armed forces over a full career and conditions in civilian life, which cannot be taken directly into account in assessing pay comparability. The graduate starting salary is set at £18,126 p.a. There are also some increases in Additional Pay (e.g. Flying Pay, Submarine Pay and Hydrographic Pay) and in Longer Separated Service Allowance/Bonus.

These recommendations will fully support the armed forces strategic personnel policies, in particular in relation to recruitment and retention. The additional cost to the Defence Budget will be £260 million. This will be met within existing Departmental Expenditure Limits.

The AFPRB' s recommendations are to be accepted in full, with implementation effective from 1 April 2000.