The Army Pension Plan – by Martin Rowson
The Issue: A small group of soldiers, with substantial years of service and operational tours, were given notice of compulsorily redundancy in June 2012, close to their entitlement to an immediate pension, some within days. As a consequence they are losing out on immediate pension payments worth thousands of pounds over a lifetime.
How many soldiers does this issue affect in total? The number of soldiers affected is relatively small, approx 70 in total. However, these numbers are set to get bigger in the coming two tranches, where 8000 – 10000 more troops will be made redundant, many more soldiers and their families could be affected…. if the Government fails to act.
Reasons why the Government needs to address this issue: Without acting to solve this issue the Government is in breach of trust and not upholding the values and standards by which these service men and women have served. Trust is crucial when your job involves putting your life on the line. Furthermore this sends out a negative and demoralising message to its armed forces and their dependants:
a) Operational tours, professional enthusiasm and the oft proclaimed Military Covenant count for nothing.
b) Financial and professional costs – to both soldier and spouse when they assume / resume civilian employment – are no longer off-set
c) Separation and disadvantage are no longer compensated with financial security
d) Personal and professional plans cannot now be founded upon the legitimate expectation of an Immediate Pension
e) The British Army’s morale and reputation is being damaged on a far wider scale than just the small number of redundees affected (see MoD Survey, 23 August 2012 indicating Officers more dispirited than rest of army – almost 2/3 of senior officers rated morale as low, up by 38% to 62% since 2010)
What we are requesting:
1) That the Government acknowledge the problem.
2) That it is unfair to these servicemen and their families, and potentially many others, to leave this issue unchanged.
3) To find a mutually agreeable solution to this issue and thereby safeguard the reputation and standing of HM Armed Forces.
We believe the government would not deliberately wish to deny its long serving and committed service men and women the pensions they have earned and deserve. The moral obligation to now honour the promise of an immediate pension – on which these men and women have justifiable expectation, and which they believed was part of their pay and conditions for which they risked their lives – is a compelling one.
The service men and women are unable to speak out as they are still serving. They rely totally on the Chain of Command and MPs & Minsiters to look after their best interests. Clearly in these cases this has not happened. We believe there has been some kind of mistake or oversight in the way the redundancy scheme and pension scheme interacts. Mistakes can be rectified.
That is why we are calling for a review to ensure all soldiers close to pension point made redundant are fully and fairly compensated for the loss of their pensions. We need your support to help get these redundancies reviewed and a fair and just solution found. Please sign the Parliamentary e-petition and help stop this happening to other servicemen and women and their families.
A VERY BIG THANK YOU to Martin Rowson for his generous artisitc contribution to our campaign! Political Cartooning doing what it should do….make us smile whilst stabbing us in the eye with a sharp, often uncomfortable thought….
“Rowson likens his political cartooning to voodoo – “doing damage from a distance with a sharp instrument.” His portrayal of Tony Blair became increasingly unpleasant over time. “When I first started to draw Blair he was puppy-like,” Rowson acknowledged, “but he became more raddled with time. I used his teeth as a sort of political barometer.” As Rowson noted in 2012, the recurring figures in his cartoon commentary develop a symbolism of their own, and his cartoons “contain characters involved in an ongoing narrative – just because some of them bear a passing resemblance to real people is very often beside the point”.*
Rowson takes pride in the extent to which visual satirists can “get away with telling power that it’s stupid, it’s got a big nose and it should just bugger off.”
For more books by Martin Rowson :
* Taken from British Cartoon Archive: http://www.cartoons.ac.uk/artists/martinrowson/biography
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