Hit our troops where it hurts

  Bingalau 12:20 PM 26 May 11
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I'm disgusted at the proposed cut in pay to people in the armed forces who have gone through a tough course to qualify as parachutists. If anything, more should be done to encourage these type of people to stay in the forces. We also need more of them. I would say that this is a cut too far. It is cutting in to the quality of our armed forces now, It has already cut the quantity below a necessary minimum.

I just can't understand why all these cuts to the armed forces are taking place when we should be upping the ante against terrorism and making damned sure that this country has the very best and a far bigger defence structure than it now has.

At a guess I would think that most of the population of this country would be willing to fore-go the Olympics than reduce our forces any further. If I was a member of the Parachute Regiment I would be saying "Roll on my discharge".

  Woolwell 12:48 PM 26 May 11

My understanding is that the numbers being trained and required to parachute are being drastically reduced and therefore less will receive the pay supplement. Paradrops haven't been used for a large force (doubt if a company has jumped together in operation for more than 20 years) for some time. The pay supplement is not being removed entirely. The problem lies that they are removing it from a significant number who have got used to the extra pay and it will hit them. It does appear odd that it is proposed that 2 Bn of the Parachute Regiment will not be trained to parachute. Is this the end of the Parachute Regiment? I was in receipt of extra pay and it is difficult to justify if you are not actually doing that role but merely qualified.

However this comes shortly after there were talks about putting the 'Military Covenant' on a formal legal footing. I thought then that rather than talk about this it would be better if the Government provided the right equipment in adequate numbers, kept the pay correct and tried not to reduce morale. MQ's and accommodation are also important of course. IMO it was a mistake to close the military hospitals. It seems that at every turn there is another morale lowering initiative mainly due to the poor way in which it is announced eg warning personnel serving in Afghanistan that they may be made redundant.

Perhaps a better target than the Olympics is the money paid in overseas aid.

  Bingalau 13:12 PM 26 May 11

Surely the idea of having a trained parachuting force was/is "in case" it was ever needed. You can bet your bottom dollar that if the Parachute Regiment were disbanded tomorrow it would be required the next day.

As a former Royal Marine I was also a trained parachutist (courtesy of the RAF and the Parachute Regiment) A large proportion of the Royal Marines Commando units are now fully trained in parachuting. So I take it they will also be losing their extra pay. There are other members of the armed forces who will no doubt be affected, I remember some R.N. medics (Sick Bay Tiffies) who were also qualified. Also of course the Royal Army Medical Corps lads and lasses.... I imagine it may sometimes be necessary for them to jump in to the aid of wounded personnel. Where do these cuts in our armed forces stop?

My parachute pay amounted to the princely sum of 42/- per week, a small amount for which I was extremely grateful.

  Woolwell 14:12 PM 26 May 11

There will still be a trained parachuting force but much smaller than now. I think that this reflects the fact that airborne troops are rarely used in their airborne role nowadays. Special Forces do use parachutes.

I think that I could make a better case for the retention of the Harrier and a carrier than the current full size of the parachute regiment.

  johndrew 14:41 PM 26 May 11

Whilst I accept the Parachute Regiment has not been involved in a mass drop since Suez, I know for a fact they were doing drops in the Radfan (in Aden) during the early 1960s and may have carried out other operations since.

Both the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines are our only assault troops, one aimed at airborne the other marine environments. For the armed forces to have a rounded ability it is essential to have such facilities available to us. To simply say we haven't used them doesn't mean we wont need them. If the case is accepted and carried to its logical end, then perhaps we could argue that any member of the armed forces not continually carrying out the function for which he is trained should not be paid. For example bomb disposal personnel are currently in use in Afghanistan but prior to this had little work disarming lethal devices, field medical personnel are a similar group and those manning nuclear, or even conventional, submarines.

Carried further into society, perhaps firemen, especially those with specialist search and rescue training, ambulance crews and many others could be treated similarly.

As has been mentioned, we could do without the Olympics, hosting the world cup, giving money to China, India and Pakistan before reducing the ability of our armed forces.

I think this suggestion is unwise in the extreme and may well be developed by those in suspect jobs (maybe MoD) attempting to justify their existence and protect a very comfortable (overpaid?) lifestyle.

  sunnystaines 15:31 PM 26 May 11

the 4£m saved may be wasted in aid to pakistan or some other corrupt despot regime.

  Woolwell 16:19 PM 26 May 11

The capability to have airborne troops isn't being removed. The numbers are being reduced. Therefore those who no longer have an operational parachute requirement no longer get the supplement. That is probably correct but the way it is announced and the impact that it has on those who currently receive it is the problem. It would be better to have a phasing out.

  flycatcher1 18:27 PM 26 May 11

I cannot speak for the Paras but the Special Forces do use parachutes operationally in Afghanistan. I think that this problem with pay relates to Qualification Pay. Examples - Flying, Submarine, Diving and Parachute Pay. Many more I am sure. In my time if one qualified for, say, Flying Pay and you were fit to be appointed to a Flying Post you kept the pay. It was not included in any pension calculations. So, you may be in the Parachute Regiment but if you have not Qualified to throw yourself out of a perfectly serviceable aeroplane at the whim of your superiors- NO Exrta Pay.

I know that the Seaman Branch of the Royal Navy were a bit unhappy about Submariners and Fleet Air Arm types retaining their qualification pay.

  spuds 18:33 PM 26 May 11

There are various ways of looking at this, and perhaps the days of parachutist's have very little to play in modern terms.

Personally I would prefer to see any savings, placed in giving the people who have lost their jobs within the armed forces their 'rightly dues'. There are now many such people finding themselves on the human waste scrapheap with virtually no or very little support.

  Forum Editor 23:47 PM 26 May 11

In view of the fact that - as has been pointed out - the last operational parachute assault by the regiment was over 50 years ago, in November 1956, there seems to be little point in continuing to train parachutists.

  johndrew 10:23 AM 27 May 11

Forum Editor

As I pointed out the last mass drop may have been 50 years ago but operational drops were made in Aden in the 1960s.

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