Defence Minister, Tobias Ellwood, has told MPs that he would like to see the armed forces given a pay rise of more than 1%.
In the House of Commons earlier today, the Conservative MP for Bournemouth East said that the latest recommendations from the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body would be given to the Ministry of Defence later in the spring. He said:
"I would like to see, obviously, an increase of more than 1%"
Independent pay review bodies are now able to recommend wage rises to public sector workers, such as those in the armed forces, after ministers scrapped the 1% public sector pay cap.
Responding to a question from shadow defence minister, Fabian Hamilton MP, Mr Ellwood said:
"I do agree with him, I would like to see, obviously an increase of more than 1%.
"But I go back to the rather delicate point, which was received with a bit of hostility from the other side...
"...we can't lose sight of the fact that we have to have a sense of responsibility in making sure that we have that strong economy, so we can increase public sector pay across the board."
However, the defence minister said any pay rise would not be made until 1 April.
Mr Ellwood has also reiterated his wishes to increase the defence spending beyond the existing 2% GDP target:
"If I may just underline the wide point that I made last week, that without strong defence in this fast-changing and indeed dangerous world, a strong economy cannot, in fact, be guaranteed.
"That's why I said that 2% of GDP on defence is not enough, but thanks to the efforts of this Defence Secretary, we now have an opportunity to make the case, to put the argument, through the defence modernisation programme, for a more robust defence posture that ensures that we retain access to the very vital international markets that will help our economy."
"Does the minister not therefore agree that these brave men and women deserve more than a 1% pay rise, which is in fact a real terms pay cut?"