§ 2.38 p.m.
§ Lord Renton
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Kimberley, and at his request, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in his name on the Order Paper.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent the strength and pay in real terms of the armed forces have increased since May 1979.
§ The Earl of Avon
My Lords, average strengths of trained United Kingdom service personnel of the regular forces over the last three years have been: 1979–80, 284,600; 1980–81, 291,900; 1981–82, 301,550. Pay has moved in accordance with the recommendations of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. Since coming into office, the Government have accepted these recommendations in full, thus honouring their commitment to maintain comparability as the basis for increases in armed forces' pay and ensuring that servicemen and women receive a fair payment for the work they do.
§ Lord Renton
My Lords, may I thank my noble friend for that reply. Does it not show that Her Majesty's Government have at heart the interests of our armed forces who are called upon to defend freedom and democracy in various parts of the world?
§ Lord Leatherland
My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl how the present infantry company sergeant-major's pay compares with the mere five shillings a day that I drew in that rank in the First World War?