Pensions / TACOS
As members will be aware, the Federation has been active on the issue of pay parity over the past month. This has included writing to the Chief Constable to press for collaborative working (a satisfactory response to which is yet to be received) following successful collaboration in the case of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
The Federation is continuing to press on the issue of pay parity. Members will also be aware that Police Oracle published a news report on the DPF’s efforts in the past fortnight based on a circular issued by the General Secretary. We were disappointed Police Oracle did not seek additional comment from the Federation, but will be following up with their team to secure further content on the issue.
We have also been pressing the MoD on the urgent need to implement the one percent pay increase for members, in line with the increase seen across Home Office constabularies since the Budget last year. The position of the MoD to date has been that there is a need for the Home Office centrally to authorise the increase in writing (this has not been formally done; constabularies have implemented the increase of their own volition) prior to the MoD taking action. The Federation has firmly expressed the view this must be taken forward as a priority – and we will also be liaising with supporters in Parliament to bring this matter to the attention of Ministers in the coming weeks.
MDP Resourcing / Reset
We have confirmed times to meet with Gerald Jones MP (Shadow Defence Minister to Tobias Ellwood), Luke Pollard (MP for Devonport), and longstanding supporter Holly Lynch MP.
These meetings will take place over the course of April.
The purpose of these meetings, which will be supplemented with written communications with members of the Defence Select Committee, Stewart MacDonald MP (SNP Defence Spokesman) and Lord Campbell (Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesman) to ask them to support the Federation’s submission (outlined below) on the Modernising Defence Programme being undertaken by the MoD.
Specifically, these meetings will press for entreaties to the MoD ministerial team that security of establishments and assets domestically must be considered as part of the Programme (including the resourcing of the MDP) to ensure the greatest capability of the Armed Forces; the protection of high-value assets; and public/national defence and security.
Modernising Defence Programme
As noted previously, the Defence Select Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the Modernising Defence Programme, and the Federation is preparing the submission of written evidence to the Committee.
The MoD has also launched a public consultation in the past month, to conclude at the end of April.
The Federation will be making a written submission to the consultation, and this will be supported – as outlined above – with communications with our parliamentary supporters.
MoD in the News
Scotland and Income Tax
In the past month, Secretary of State Gavin Williamson has announced he will campaign for Armed Forces personnel in Scotland to be exempted from increases to income tax introduced by the Scottish Assembly.
The Federation has written to Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood on this issue to ascertain what impact the tax increases may have for MDP officers in Scotland, and specifically to ask whether the inclusion of officers in any exemption secured by the Secretary of State may come at the cost of accessing vital services such as the NHS.
Should there be no impact to members’ access to public services, we will of course be pressing for the MDP to be included in any such exemption secured by the Secretary of State.
Spring Statement / Demands for MoD funding
In the past month, Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Spring Statement, having previously confirmed the Budget would be moved to the autumn and that the Spring Statement would be limited to an update on the economy.
The statement did not reference defence, although this was to be expected given current work of the Modernising Defence Programme. The Chancellor did suggest that economic growth was expected in the coming years, with public finances also benefitting from reductions in borrowing.
The past month has continued to see demands for additional MoD funding from leading defence commentators and both serving and retired senior officers – including the newly named Chief of Defence Staff.
The weight of feeling and advocacy for additional funding is likely part of a coordinated campaign that potentially includes the MoD’s ministerial team. Tobias Ellwood at the end of February argued in Parliament that the NATO defence spending target of two percent of GDP should be a floor for UK defence spend – a point highlighted in The Times, which the DPF responded to with a letter to the editor.