Sir Keir Starmer has suggested a Labour government would not increase military wages in line with inflation amid the cost of living crisis.
Speaking in Plymouth on VJ Day, the leader of the Labour Party told Forces News he was "not sure" a pay rise in line with inflation was right as "inflation is out of control", but said a plan by the party to reduce energy prices would cut inflation by 4%.
Last month, it was announced the most senior officers in the Armed Forces, one-star level and above, would get a pay rise of 3.5%, with everybody else getting 3.75%, backdated to April 2022.
Both figures are lower than the UK's rate of inflation.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 9.4% in the 12 months up to June 2022.
Additionally, the military's pay rise is less than what other public sector workers are getting.
"Everyone understands the concern people have about their wages, about their income and the impact inflation is having on that," Sir Keir said.
Watch: Defence Secretary on cost of living and Armed Forces pay rise.
"But if you're just chasing inflation all the time, you're just adding to the problem, whereas what we're saying is bring inflation down."
Sir Keir also said Labour have a "a very radical and bold plan" to stop energy price increases in October and January, adding the price increases "would not happen under a Labour government".
"For many veterans and families, that's very important because the… price cap at the moment is just under £2,000-a-year for energy pricing," he said.
"In October, it is going to go to £3,500 if you can believe it. And in January, to £4,200.
"I think for many veterans and their families, they would say: 'I just don't know how I could possibly afford that kind of energy price increase'.
Watch: Labour: Armed Forces cuts not the right decision.
"So, we've said rather than allow that price increase to go ahead and see what we could do after the event, we're going to tackle this at root and not allow the prices to go up at all."
Sir Keir added that the UK would need to pay to stop the prices going up and said Labour has outlined "a choice".
"You can either allow the oil and gas companies in the North Sea to continue to make huge profits that they weren't expecting whilst families and households suffer, or you can do something about it," he said.
"We've said we'll do something about it – we will make sure those price increases don't happen.
"And we will impose a windfall tax on oil and gas companies who are making huge profit, to pay to keep those prices where they need to be.
The plan is "fully costed" he said, and, if implemented, would "mean that a huge amount of hardship and anxiety" this winter would not "be faced".