Earlier this year, ahead of Armed Forces Day, Labour announced Labour’s five new pledges to support the UK’s armed forces and their families.

The announcement came as new House of Commons Library research showed that after almost a decade of real terms pay cuts forced on our military personnel by the government, a private’s starting salary is £1159 lower in real terms today than in 2010.

Local MP Martin Whitfield has met with Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith MP at Westminster to discuss the pledges and how they will benefit service personnel and their families in East Lothian.

Labour’s Five Pledges to support the forces and their families are:

  1. 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
  2. Decent housing for forces and their families – end the growing reliance on the private rented sector
  3. A voice for service men and women – consult on creating a representative body, similar to the Police Federation
  4. End privatisation – root and branch review of outsourcing and a clear presumption in favour of public delivery of public contracts
  5. Support for forces children– better access to schools with dedicated local authorities admissions strategy for the particular challenge of frequent school moves.

Martin Whitfield MP said:

“As their elected representatives, we have a vital duty to ensure that our armed forces, veterans, and their families, have the very best support. But nearly a decade of cuts and privatisation means forces personnel and their families are paying the price.

“The current government has cut the pay of our servicemen and women, outsourced services to private companies, and left many living in service accommodation with leaking roofs, broken boilers and appliances that don’t work.

“Labour’s five pledges will give service personnel in East Lothian and across the UK the pay, conditions of service and respect they deserve, guaranteeing a better deal for all those who serve in our Armed Forces.”

Nia Griffith MP said:

“As a country, we are rightly proud of our highly-skilled servicemen and women, ready at a moment’s notice to do whatever is necessary to defend our country.

“But under the Conservatives, our Armed Forces have had a raw deal. The government has delivered short-sighted defence cuts and failed privatisations that have let down personnel and taxpayers alike.

“Those who serve our country deserve our full and unwavering support. The next Labour government will put the needs of the Armed Forces community at the very heart of what we do.”

Find out more about Labour’s support for our Armed Forces here.