Jeremy Corbyn has marked Armistice Day on Monday with a pledge to support the armed forces as Prime Minister with better working conditions, against a backdrop of falling pay and privatisation under the Tories.
The party’s manifesto, which will be released later this month, will include five major pledges to support the forces and their families:
- Fair Pay – scrap the public sector pay cap, which has seen a 5.8% real terms pay cut for the starting salary of an Army Private
- Decent housing for forces and their families – end the growing reliance on the private rented sector
- A voice for service men and women – consult on creating a representative body, similar to the Police Federation
- End privatisation – root and branch review of outsourcing and a clear presumption in favour of public delivery of public contracts
- Support for forces children – better access to schools with dedicated local authorities admissions strategy for the particular challenge of frequent school moves
The Tory record with our armed forces:
* After almost a decade of real terms pay cuts forced on military personnel by the government, a private’s starting salary is £1,159 lower in real terms today than in 2010.
* The number of trained army personnel has reduced in size from around 102,000 in 2010 to just over 74,000 in 2019. Naval personnel numbers have dropped from 35,000 to 29,000, and RAF from about 41,000 to 29,000.
Labour believes that real security requires decent pay, decent housing, support for our armed forces and their families, and a way to get their voice heard.
Our forces should not have to put up with pay cuts, sub-standard housing, difficulties accessing school for their children, or face the uncertainty of relying on outsourced providers.
After a decade of government cuts and outsourcing, Labour offers our armed forces real change with the pay, conditions and respect they deserve.