I found this story in Sunday’s Independent via Guido Fawkes’ blog.
Is this a joke? —
A highly sensitive internal report into the state of the British Army has revealed that many soldiers are living in poverty. Some are so poor that they are unable to eat and are forced to rely on emergency food voucher schemes set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Some of Britain’s most senior military figures reacted angrily yesterday to the revelations in the report, criticising the Government’s treatment of its fighting forces.
The disturbing findings outlined in the briefing team report written for Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, include an admission that many junior officers are being forced to leave the Army because they simply cannot afford to stay on.
Pressure from an undermanned army is “having a serious impact on retention in infantry battalions”, with nearly half of all soldiers unable to take all their annual leave as they try to cover the gaps.
– – – – – – – – –
The analysis, described by General Dannatt as “a comprehensive and accurate portrayal of the views and concerns of the Army at large”, states: “More and more single-income soldiers in the UK are now close to the UK government definition of poverty.” It reveals that “a number of soldiers were not eating properly because they had run out of money by the end of the month”. Commanders are attempting to tackle the problem through “Hungry Soldier” schemes, under which destitute soldiers are given loans to enable them to eat.
The scheme symbolises a change from the tradition of soldiers getting three square meals a day for free. Now hard-up soldiers have to fill out a form which entitles them to a voucher. The cost is deducted from their future wages, adding to the problems of soldiers on low pay.
The controversial Pay as You Dine (PAYD) regime, which requires soldiers not on active duty to pay for their meals, has seen commanding officers inundated with complaints from soldiers unhappy at the quality of food that they get and the amount of paperwork involved.
Senior officers warn in the report that “there is a duty of care issue” and add that the “core meal” provided to soldiers on duty “is often not the healthy option”. The confusion of which soldiers even qualify for free meals while on duty is revealed in the admission that “in some areas the soldier has to pay and then claim back and in others the duty meal is included in the contract”.
General Dannatt has vowed to take action. He said, “I am determined that PAYD must be made to work to both the financial and physical well-being of those who are fed.”
Despite numerous assurances by the Government to look after wounded soldiers, the report warns of deep resentment over a cap on the amount of compensation that wounded soldiers receive. It outlines the “deep frustration” at the inadequate amount being spent on accommodation.
You can read the rest of the Independent story here.
There is a link to the “leaked” Ministry of Defence Army Briefing Report, which seems to have been done in 2007. [It’s a type of pdf]
Another commenter said:
It should be Obvious that before the EU Paramilitary Police force can start strutting their Stuff against us Unruly Anti EU Brits the Britsh army must be Demoralised and Culled.
Come on y’all. Tell us this is a straight-faced English parody.
Soldiers have to pay to eat??
Would someone please leave a current contact so we can send CARE packages? This is sickening.
[NB — When your open the pages of UKNDA, they will appear empty. Just scroll way down to get to the text]
I found UKNDA’s Manifesto page.
of The United Kingdom National Defence Association (UKNDA)
The PURPOSE OF THE UKNDA is to campaign for:
SUFFICIENT, APPROPRIATE AND FULLY FUNDED ARMED FORCES
needed to ensure the effective defence of the United Kingdom, its people, their security and vital interests at home and worldwide.
WE CONTEND IT IS SELF EVIDENT THAT:
Over the past 25 years since the Falklands War, the percentage of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) invested in Defence and the Armed Forces has been remorselessly reduced from over 5% to the point where it is now barely 2.2%.
This underfunding results in inadequate numbers of personnel and equipment. Politicians of all parties chant the mantra that “Defence is the first priority of Government” – but the evidence shows otherwise – Defence is low, and steadily getting lower, in the Nation’s list of priorities.
All of our Armed Forces have been repeatedly reduced in size and capability so that they are now chronically over-stretched for the tasks they have been given or that they may have to face over the next generation.
The evidence for the above statements has been growing ever more clear and stark. The Falklands War was won by the narrowest of margins – “a damn close run thing”, as Wellington said after Waterloo!
The ‘Peace Dividend’ at the supposed end of the Cold War has been taken not once, but repeatedly – but now elements of the old-style ‘Cold War’ are again rearing their heads, with the Russian government quadrupling their defence expenditure over the past five years.
Despite in-depth Strategic Defence Reviews (1998 and supplemental reviews thereafter) their findings have been increasingly abandoned and their recommendations excessively ‘adjusted’, for which read ‘reduced’.
The Royal Navy’s Destroyer and Frigate Forces have been reduced progressively from 50 to 32 (then declared to be the irreversible minimum) and are now down to 25 and still shrinking. SDR 98 stated that 12 of the new ‘world-leading’ Type 45 DARING class Destroyers were required. Almost ten years later only six are on order, with a ‘possible’ two more to come “if finances allow”.
The Army, with a trained manpower strength now below 100,000, is grievously short of ‘boots on the ground’ – at least 3,000 short according to its Chief, General Dannatt – Infantry regiments being merged or disbanded entirely. The shortage of modern armoured helicopters is a constraint on operations, especially in Afghanistan.
The RAF has an increasingly obsolete Transport Force and insufficient helicopters to provide the Army with adequate air to ground strike capability, force support and casualty evacuation. Lack of spares results in excessive ‘store-robbing’ from operational aircraft.
Most crucially of all, many of our Armed Forces on operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere are, as a direct result of insufficient funding and sometimes insufficient or inappropriate equipment, at greater risk of wounding or death than might otherwise be the case.
This is unacceptable and indefensible!
WHAT DOES THE UKNDA PROPOSE?
We urge politicians of all parties and persuasions to support an immediate and sustained real increase in the percentage of GDP allocated annually for “Defence and the Armed Forces” to at least 3%; this would represent an increase of 35-40% over present levels of funding.
It is no exaggeration to say that inadequate funding of Defence is placing our Forces at unnecessary risk. All too often the men and women of our Armed Forces are paying the price in blood.
WHERE IS THE DETAILED UKNDA ‘CASE’ TO BE FOUND?
Annexed to this Manifesto are three summarised reports on the problems facing each of our Armed Forces, and further briefs summarise ‘More Money for Defence’ and ‘The Threats’ potentially facing the United Kingdom and its vital interests.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
To have political ‘clout’ and influence the UKNDA must become a mass membership Association. Our immediate target is a membership of 10,000 – then 100,000 and more. If YOU care – join us.
Join the UKNDA as a subscribing member and tell your friends about this web site to add to our numbers and resources and so increase our influence.
Write to your local and national newspapers about your concerns for our Forces.
Write to your MP on every appropriate occasion drawing their attention to the UKNDA and its purpose. Ask your MP to tell you his/her position and views relating to Defence and the funding of our Armed Forces.
THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.
WORKING TOGETHER AS A TEAM WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
JOIN US NOW AND DO THAT “SOMETHING” THAT MUST BE DONE
And now to consider the financial issues – click on
“More Money” for the UK military? That is surely the understatement of this century.