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UK troops must receive pay rise to protect recruitment

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Tens of thousands of troops are in line for an above-inflation pay rise as the defence minister calls for extra funding.

The independent body that advises the government on pay for members of the army, navy and air force has provided its recommendations for the 2018-19 pay round. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said an announcement would be made in due course, but the Times reported on Monday that the armed forces pay review body had recommended an increase of about 3%.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood heightened pressure on the Treasury to increase military spending as he insisted Britain’s 137,000 full-time service personnel “deserve a pay rise”.

Such a move would cost hundreds of millions of pounds over several years, with the minister suggesting the UK would need to spend more than 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP) to cover pay rises, as well as new jets, warships and other equipment.

The former army captain said: “There needs to be a pay rise. We have still got to conclude the defence modernisation programme but you would need to move north of 2.5% to make any of this work, if you want to retain the same defence posture given the dangers, the complexities of the world that we face.”

Ellwood has previously suggested the armed forces should receive funding on a par with the National Health Service.

The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show the UK spent 9.8% of GDP on healthcare in 2016.

Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute, said a 3% increase would cost around £200m a year.

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