Parliamentary Defence Debate: 6 Dec 2012

Hansard Transcript of today’s debate in Parliament. 
My MP, Heidi Alexander, did a great job today in highlighting the issue of making soldiers redundant close to Pension Point. 
At last, the walls of Westminster have heard the truth that has, since the summer, been disguised by the numerous statements of Government Ministers ie…that soldiers are receiving a “significantly increased lump sum”…an extra £10,000 …true, whilst completely ignoring the fact that these long serving soldiers, some of whom have seen YEARS of operational tours, are missing out on thousands of pounds of pension over a life-time and the secruity that the promised pension would have given them and their families.  
This is the worst kind of Government Broken Promise, because it was a promise made to young men and women when they signed up, and on which they have risked life and limb.  It is a financial  promise that these men and women have, in all good faith, planned the financial futures of their families on.  The Immediate Pension is the key financial promise in all military family lives.  For the CoC and Ministers to not have considered this as a factor in the redundancy process is just not acceptable. 
Lets hope the Minister listens to the words of Ms Alexander and acts to ensure no more soldiers and their families suffer the same fate in the coming tranches of cuts. 
There are solutions to this issue…it just needs the will of Government to look for them…
Here  is the transcript…

“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:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: