U.K. uproar over troops' extended pay

Dec. 13, 2006 at 3:26 PM
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LONDON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Britain's Labor government has come under fire for trying to change the way it pays soldiers on extended tours that could cost some of them $2,650 each.

At issue in Parliament is the government's plan to phase out long service separation, or "accumulated turbulence" bonuses for soldiers who spend long periods of time away from home.

Defense Minister Des Browne told Parliament the new plan would "not take one penny away from anybody," but a leaked Ministry of Defense document seen by The Daily Telegraph showed he had been warned a week before there would be "losers" under the reforms.

Another memo from September written by Lt.-Col. David Russell-Parsons of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards that emerged on Tuesday said 505 of his men will have spent around 20 months away from home on a series of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia between August 2004 and November 2007, and each stood to lose $2,650.

Opposition defense critic Liam Fox lashed out at Browne over his "no loser claim."

"It is very clear that Parliament, the public and the Armed Forces were all misled and are due an apology," Fox said.

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