Shameless dishonesty


by Rumbold
18th December, 2007 at 8:06 pm    

For a while now, the Brown government has been beset by scandal after scandal, from dodgy donations to losing confidental information. Nothing though seems to sum up the Brown mentality like this story:

“THE Ministry of Defence (MoD) is facing legal action over plans to cut the pensions of Gurkhas by sacking them three years before they are due to leave the army. The move, which means the MoD will avoid having to pay an ordinary Gurkha soldier more than £200,000, is to be challenged in the courts by the British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF).

The policy was introduced by civil servants after they were forced to increase the Gurkhas’ pay and pensions to bring them into line with the rest of the army. An official briefing document on the new pension scheme shows that 80%-85% of Gurkhas will be discharged early, so missing the better payments. They will lose out not only on the immediate pension they would get after 18 years’ service but also on a lump sum departure payment of the equivalent of three years’ pension.”

So people who volunteered to protect, and die for, this country are being double-crossed so that ministers and civil servants can gourge themselves on more public money. Utterly disgusting and symbolic of the way that Brown operates. He could stop this right now if he chooses to, but he will not, becuase he does not care about such people.

“Gurkhas have been put on the new army pension scheme, which applies to all other soldiers, after years of campaigning by their supporters. The full pension will be worth around £6,500 a year for a rifleman, the basic Gurkha rank – plus the one-off departure payment.

In the past, most Gurkhas served only for 15 years, after which they received an immediate pension that was much smaller and worth only about £1,200 a year for a rifleman.But Gurkhas on the new scheme will now get nothing until they are 65, if the MoD decides they are among the 80%-85% who are to be thrown out at 15 years.

For most Gurkhas who join the army at 18, that will deprive them of a total of 32 years’ pension money, £208,000 for a basic rifleman, and far more for an NCO. The briefing document says the army will recruit far too many Gurkhas if they are allowed to serve to the 18-year point, so most will be discharged after 15 years with no immediate pension and no departure payment.”

It was originally a Blair scheme designed to steal from all soldiers, but now the government has revised it just to target the Gurkhas. Pathetic.

“A “manning control scheme” was used from the late 1990s until 2002, in an attempt to cut the MoD’s pension liability by preventing some soldiers serving to the point at which they received an immediate pension.

But its deliberate intent to cut pension payments was exposed in 2002 after a series of cases in which highly experienced soldiers with extremely good reports were thrown out at a time when the army was desperately short of such men.

Ministers ordered civil servants to stop using the scheme to discharge good soldiers and it has not been used since. It has been revived specifically to control the numbers of Gurkha soldiers.”


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  1. marvin — on 18th December, 2007 at 11:46 pm  

    Vote conservative. Or don’t bother, they will get in by default.

  2. douglas clark — on 18th December, 2007 at 11:46 pm  

    Rumbold,

    You couldn’t make it up! It takes a special sort of mendacity to come up with something like this. Folk risk their lives for you and you treat them like that? That sort of treatment comes from the same folk that are trimming their cloth over Iraq Interpreters too.

  3. Bert Preast — on 19th December, 2007 at 2:58 pm  

    The army’s biggest shortfall at the moment is in the infantry. The government helps out by trying to cut the number of Gurkhas – who’re mostly infantrymen.

    I think a root of the problem is it’s a quarter century since we had a minister of defence who served in the armed forces, since then they’ve all been lawyers. People who in my experience tend to hold soldiers in the same sort of esteem as burger flippers at McD’s, and assume it’s a job people only do if they can’t do anything else.

    Since the fall of the wall defence has been bottom of the spending queue, something that’s only a vote winner if any spending there provides civilians with jobs. People do seem to be realising these last few years though that we still have enemies and we still need the armed forces, so I’m hoping the situation might improve.

    It’s sad that we have a system where the minister of defence must come from the ruling party – the whole shebang should really be outside party politics. Had we had someone like Paddy Ashdown available for the post these last 15 years things would be much different, but picking someone the forces will trust from New Labour is just impossible.

  4. Bert Preast — on 22nd December, 2007 at 1:26 am  

    Am I being a bit too rad or something?

    Not saying the budget should change (though of course I think it should), just that far better use could be made of it by someone who knows what they’re doing and is outside of party pressures. No bugger got any thoughts?

  5. Rumbold — on 22nd December, 2007 at 11:14 am  

    Douglas:

    It is ridiculous.

    Bert Preast:

    “I think a root of the problem is it’s a quarter century since we had a minister of defence who served in the armed forces, since then they’ve all been lawyers. People who in my experience tend to hold soldiers in the same sort of esteem as burger flippers at McD’s, and assume it’s a job people only do if they can’t do anything else.”

    Agree completly. The only minister who knew anything about defence (Lord Drayson) left in disgust (I know that he was not secretary of state but he did have some influence). There are too few people in the House of Commons with military experience full stop. I suppose this a legacy of the fact that many MPs who served in WWII are now retired or dead, and as there has been no large-scale conflict since, the average person has not had to join the army.

    “Since the fall of the wall defence has been bottom of the spending queue, something that’s only a vote winner if any spending there provides civilians with jobs. People do seem to be realising these last few years though that we still have enemies and we still need the armed forces, so I’m hoping the situation might improve.”

    The peace dividend made some sense in the early 1990s, but as our government commits us to so many wars and international missions, they should have adjusted the spending accordingly. I think you are right that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have given the army a higher profile, which should be benefical for them in the future.

    “It’s sad that we have a system where the minister of defence must come from the ruling party – the whole shebang should really be outside party politics. Had we had someone like Paddy Ashdown available for the post these last 15 years things would be much different, but picking someone the forces will trust from New Labour is just impossible.”

    I don’t think that it is a party political problem. It seems, as you have pointed out, two major problems with our armed forces; spending and management. The former is easy to fix, the latter less so. MoD civil servants spend billions on themselves while refusing to pay for basic kit for soldiers. Meanwhile, the defence budget is being spent on things we don’t really neeed, like the Eurofighter.

    It is not just a ministerial problem, but a whole culutre that exists at the MoD and the Treasury. Both these departments exist to fund and equip the military, yet they treat the military like slaves.

  6. Bert Preast — on 22nd December, 2007 at 1:56 pm  

    What’s the reason the civil service treat the military in such a way? I’d say it’s because for probably the first time the majority of civil servants in Whitehall have never served. Notice how these last couple of years we’ve seen the generals talking to the press? Only reason I can see for that is that talking to Whitehall is pointless. The forces can whinge but at the end of the day the civilians are in charge and they want to keep it that way.

    I’d say it is a party political problem, look at how Mercer was binned having been honest rather than PC – and then look how he was quietly picked up to advise the PM, then quietly bought back into the Tory circle again to advise Cameron. All parties are having to consult him as there’s literally no one else lurking about Westminster who knows the first thing about it. Even though he’s a risky man to have onside as the politicians think that the public think that he’s a racist. If they’re now willing to cross party lines in order to get competent advisors that’s a good thing.

    I don’t see the management issue as being impossible to fix, there are plenty of ex Majors and comparable ranks from the other services who on being passed over for further promotion leave the forces. They should be the ones Whitehall is looking to employ in the MOD, as they’re best qualified to sort out management having seen it from the other side.

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