Parliamentary Defence Debate: 6 Dec 2012
“I feel quite inadequate to follow the speech of the hon. Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart). He and I are both Members of Parliament representing south-east London constituencies. It would probably be fair to say that we have very different political views, but after listening to the speech that he has just made, some of those political views become somewhat irrelevant, given what he said about his own experience in the armed forces, and what he and many others who serve in the Army, the RAF and the Navy see with their own eyes. I feel very honoured and privileged to have listened to the speech that he gave.
I shall make a brief contribution today. We have heard other speakers talk about important global issues relating to our defence forces, ranging from the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and their safety during that process to important aspects of the role of our defence forces in light of Britain’s emerging position in the world. I want to raise a specific issue about officers who are currently serving in our armed forces.
One of my constituents, Jayne Bullock, came to visit me a couple of months ago because her brother, who is a serving officer in the Army, had been issued with a redundancy notice earlier this year. He was given his redundancy date, which was only days before his immediate pension point. I understand that he will no longer be eligible to receive his pension immediately upon his redundancy, and that this represents a significant financial loss to him and his family. I understand that of the redundancy notices that were issued this summer, that situation affects about 70 or 80 serving officers.
We heard from the hon. Member for Beckenham the vital job that such officers do in our armed forces. The responsibility that goes with being an officer in our Army cannot be underestimated. They have to deal with situations such as that which the hon. Gentleman described. It is only right that those officers are given the pension that they are due. I believe that the compensation that has been arranged for them in some form of lump sum falls far short of what they would have received, had they got their pension at their immediate pension point.
Will the Minister, in his concluding remarks, explain to hon. Members what he plans to do about this problem in the future? Although it affects a certain number of people who received their redundancy notices this summer, the problem will continue as there will be further tranches of redundancies. Would it be possible not to make redundant those people who are less then 12 months away from their immediate pension point?
We are all here today speaking highly of our armed forces, but we need more than warm words. We need to put our money where our mouth is. Will the Minister look into the issues raised by the Pension Justice for Troops campaign that Jayne Bullock has established, and look at what else might be possible in respect of providing those individuals with appropriate compensation? I hope that if not today, then at some point in the future, he will be able to offer those service personnel some good news.”
Stop this happening to other service personnel!
Please sign the petition: http://change.org/pensionjusticefortroops
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