Parachute Regiment soldiers face 'special payment' cut


Col Stuart Tootal: "This is going to have a dramatic impact on morale"

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Thousands of members of the Parachute Regiment and others could lose special payments for their parachuting skills, under MoD cost-cutting plans.

The Army may cut the number of troops trained to parachute in 16 Air Assault Brigade, lowering the number who qualify for the £180-a-month bonus.

The move would involve a 10% pay cut for the lowest-paid privates.

The MoD said most of the brigade's soldiers would remain fully trained to parachute.

However, it insisted no decisions had yet been taken on the extent of the changes

Currently almost 5,000 parachute-trained members of the armed forces receive the special supplement of nearly £6 a day in recognition of the extra risks and skills involved in parachuting.

The Daily Telegraph reported that cutting the so-called Para Pay bonus would save millions of pounds a year.

Reorganising Army

Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade is the largest brigade in the Army with about 8,000 personnel in total. As well as the Parachute Regiment, its units provide artillery, engineers, logistical and medical capabilities.

BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said the move could be a significant blow to morale for the soldiers of 16 Air Assault Brigade who have just returned from Helmand, in Afghanistan.

16 Air Assault Brigade

  • Largest brigade in the army
  • 8,000 personnel
  • Served in Sierra Leone, Macedonia, Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Formed from army and RAF personnel
  • Includes parachute battalions, attack aircraft, engineers, medical and logistic support

While the Parachute Regiment has not made an operational jump since the Suez crisis in 1956, the SAS - of which more than 50% are Paras - parachuted in the Falklands, as well as more recently into Baghdad, our correspondent added.

Among those affected by the move could be quartermasters and cooks in 16 Air Assault Brigade who are traditionally trained to parachute.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman public spending restrictions meant it was right that "people who would never be asked to jump out of the back of a plane" could lose their payments.

But the MoD said no-one affected would see their pay drop for at least a year after any change.

Last year's strategic defence and security review (SDSR) outlined the future shape and size of Britain's armed forces with defence spending set to fall by 8% over four years.

In a statement the MoD said the review "looked at reorganising the Army structure over the next 10 years to enable it to best meet the challenges of 2020 and beyond".

It added: "In light of the SDSR, it is likely that the majority of Parachute Regiment soldiers will remain fully trained to parachute but the parachute requirement for 16 Air Assault Brigade as a whole will be reduced.

"Soldiers who remain fully trained to parachute will continue to receive specialist pay. Personnel will be informed as soon as these plans have been finalised."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    cost cutting is going on not just in the armed forces, some are fairer than others. i am ex forces and all i will say is this, a future prime minister is going to look pretty silly when he asks the army/navy/airforce in the future to do a task, to be told we can't any more because of cuts. the money saved here on some of our best trained fighting men will only be wasted somewhere else by MP's.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    having served in the forces here is one sure fire way to save money cut the hospatality and perkes from the higher ranks ie the officers how many millions is wasted in ceromonial rubbish parties and alike entertaining allowences the forces are there to fight not party of course your lower ranks do not get any of this its just a disgrace but always the hoo ra henreys never suffer

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    This whole thing is an utter disgrace. Paratroopers are the elite of the British Army, not only a parachuting capability makes them outstanding but the joy of passing "P" Company. For the benefit of the great unwashed, "P" Company is a very tough, intense commando course which the average soldier would fail and only the toughest pass. Liam Fox must remember this before there is any agreement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    Allowances are a method by which the MOD can choose to pay extra to the armed forces without having to increase salaries. Easy to give but easier to take away especially when the armed forces cannot go on strike. As usual, the armed forces are an easy target for govt cuts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    As a former Para, my starting pay was £19.76 per day. My para pay when qualified was an additional £3. Recognising some of the comments suggesting that the skill of parachuting may no longer be an operational skill, the selection and training process is what makes a para a good soldier. If they forgoe recognition for parachute training, change the pay structure to a level where it is not needed.


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