Defence Secretary Wants 'Acceptable Salary' For UK Military Personnel

Penny Mordaunt said wages are a spending priority for her.

The Defence Secretary has pledged to ensure that all members of the armed forces get a fair wage.

Penny Mordaunt also said wages are a spending priority for her and she will be arguing the case in the decisions on this year's pay review.

Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute land warfare conference in London on Tuesday, Ms Mordaunt said she was determined to raise the wages of the lowest-paid members of the armed forces to ensure they received an "acceptable salary to live well".

"I am determined to ensure that the lowest-paid members of our armed forces are lifted."

She said the forces were exempt from the provisions of the national living wage - currently £8.21 an hour for those aged 25 and over - because personnel were, in effect, on call 365 days-a-year.

"We are undertaking work to determine what a living wage looks like for those who can be called on day and night."

Anonymous British soldiers boots

Ms Mordaunt also called for the military "ethos" of the Army to be deployed to help combat the rising tide of knife crime on Britain's streets.

She said she aims to draw on the example of the network of military preparation colleges - which prepare 16 to 23-year-olds for life in the forces - to develop a sense of duty and self-worth in young people currently drawn to gang culture.

"I believe it is time to use the skills and lessons learned at these colleges and elsewhere in our Army to address this national crisis of weapons and gangs on our streets."

She said that in support of the Government's ministerial taskforce on serious youth violence, the Ministry of Defence would hold a summit bringing together the colleges and those involved in diverting youngsters away from crime.