§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether he will make a statement on pay for the Forces, 279W in the light of the speech made by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Neil Cameron, Chief of the Defence Staff, in London on 16th February 1978; and what pay increases would be necessary to restore Forces' pay back today on a comparability basis with that which they were receiving in 1970 and if they received the same percentage increases since that date as paid to the miners;
(2) whether he will give an assurance that whatever increase in pay and conditions of Service men are eventually agreed to it will not be less than that given to the police in general and the Metropolitan Police in particular.
§ Mr. Mulley
I agree with the sentiment expressed by the Chief of the Defence Staff on that occasion that the pay of the Armed Forces has fallen behind comparable civilian earnings. I have already said that the Armed Forces Pay Review Body has recognised this in previous reports. And as my hon. Friend knows, I have promised in the House, on more than one occasion, that the military salary will be restored to full comparability as soon as pay policy permits.
I cannot anticipate the 1978 report of the AFPRB. Nor can I say to what extent the Armed Forces have lost comparability; that is a matter for the Review Body to judge. Accordingly I cannot provide the comparisons with the pay of miners or the police on the basis requested.