I recently tabled a parliamentary question to Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, on the bonuses that his department is paying out to consultants. I was shocked yesterday when the answer came through telling me that one consultant was paid £84,563 last year – as a bonus! When you consider all the complaints that have been made about the lack of equipment, helicopters, body armour, etc, that our troops are having to endure and the shoddy justifications that have been coming from the government, it’s frankly appalling that the MOD should be paying out bonuses like this. It’s also worth bearing in mind that this comes at a time when the Tories are proposing no pay increases for public sector workers on wages over just £18,000 and Labour are planning to restrict public sector pay rises to just 1% – effectively a pay cut.
To make matters worse, the average consultant’s bonus in the department has quadrupled from £7,243 to £31,890 in just the last five years! So that means that whilst the government was launching an illegal war in Iraq, MOD bonuses were rising – to the point now that the average MOD consultant is paid twice as much in bonuses each year as a squaddie earns for fighting on the frontline. To me that’s completely unacceptable.