In its quest for cost cutting to fill the current budget Â£1 billion shortfall, the Ministry of Defence has decided to reduce the number of paratroopers it has on the books.
At present, according to a Telegraph report, there are 4,756 servicemen trained to jump that make up the 16 Air Assault Brigade. Apart from the direct fighting soldiers this also includes engineers, artillery experts and medics.
The plan is to reduce the numbers of paratroopers down to three companies with 160 personnel in each plus some support troops so paring down the numbers of trained paratroopers by about 4,000.
Some of the cost cutting will be felt directly by the troops at the sharp end though as those 4,000 that will be ejected from the ranks of this elite stand to lose the Â£180 per month Para Pay Bonus. And when you are on a take home pay of just over Â£1,000 a month this will come as a severe personal financial blow.
This pay bonus is paid in recognition of the dangers involved and is paid regardless of rank and cutting it to this extent will save the MOD about Â£4 million per annum.
The ‘Cessation of Parachute Pay PR11 Measure’ has been authorised by the head of the Army’s resources and plans unit for ministers to approve.
Although a bad blow to the troops concerned, you cannot continue to pay people for something they will no longer be asked to undertake.
But looking at the figures is it right that we demand that those we send to fight and die on our behalf should be doing so for as little as a grand a month after tax?