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UK Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body ~ 2019 Summary

British troops deployed in Estonia this year on Operation CABRIT [©Bob Morrison]
The UK Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body has just released details of its recommendations which include increasing the rates of base pay by 2.9%.


The Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body provides independent advice to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence on the remuneration and charges for members of the Naval, Military and Air Forces of the Crown. Its full recommendation can be read here [as a 132-page PDF] but the following is a very brief summary:-

Published 22 July 2019: Our central recommendation is that rates of base pay for the main remit group should be increased by 2.9 per cent from 1 April 2019. The key indicators that influenced our recommendation this year are:

  • over recent years, some weakening of Armed Forces’ pay relative to the wider economy;
  • average earnings growth was at 3.5 per cent and 5.2 per cent for those in continuous employment in the UK;
  • 68 per cent of Service personnel in 2018 did not receive any pay increase as a result of incremental progression;
  • Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation at 1.9 per cent;
  • the need to balance our pay recommendation against overall affordability;
  • the failure to meet recruitment targets;
  • outflow figures, including Voluntary Outflow (VO), remaining at high levels, yet there is a sustained tempo of operations;
  • an increase in the deficit in military full-time trained strength;
  • further declines in motivation and satisfaction with pay, with pay increasingly being cited as a potential reason for Service personnel to leave;
  • the importance of our pay recommendation as an indication of the ‘value’ of Service personnel.
Updated 14:00

MoD News Release, 22 July 2019: Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced an above inflation pay rise for the armed forces, with the lowest paid soldiers, sailors and airmen and women receiving a 6% increase to ensure they receive a living wage.

The Ministry of Defence has accepted in full the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body’s recommendations for a 2.9% pay rise this financial year. This pay rise – the highest since 2007 – represents an annual increase of £995 in the average salary for personnel.

A separate pay rise has also been awarded to the lowest paid personnel, with the basic pay for newly trained sailors, soldiers, and airmen and women, rising by £1,140. This increase means that after basic training, new and junior personnel will receive an annual salary of £20,000 a year.

This represents an above inflation 6% pay rise for the most junior service personnel and delivers on the Defence Secretary’s recent commitment to introduce a living wage for the lowest-paid military personnel.

British troops on exercise in Norway last winter on TRIDENT JUNCTURE 18 [©Bob Morrison]
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