Soldiers' Pension Cuts Fury- The People Newspaper- Exclusive News Story- ***January 2012***

This story revealed how proposed pension cuts are forcing serving soldiers to leave the army.

Servicemen fear that the new pension schemes will leave them unable to survive financially when they leave the forces.

A whistleblower, who asked to remain anonymous, wanted to bring the problem to the public's attention.

We placed the story in The People newspaper and our source retained their anonymity.

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SOLDIERS have reacted with fury to proposed devastating Government cuts to their pensions, The People can reveal.

Thousands of heroes who have risked their lives on the front line are up in arms at plans to slash their retirement incomes and many now threaten to quit.

Proposed changes would see a top-earning sergeant who has done 22 years' service left more than 200,000 out of pocket.

And a private with a pension beginning at the age of 18 would lose more than 100,000 by 40.

Sources said anger was spreading through the ranks but especially among experienced NCOs who are difficult to replace.

One source told us: "I know at least seven sergeants in their 20s who have handed in their notice because the future looks bleak.

"I had another young lad in tears. There is no union for soldiers and lower-ranking officers who speak up are ignored.

"These changes will drive existing soldiers out and stop new recruits signing up."

Earlier this year, the Government admitted it intended to save billions by linking Forces pensions to the Consumer Price Index rather than the Retail Price Index.

Because the CPI is calculated in a different way from the RPI it rises more slowly and so would pensions based on it.

Troops have been called to briefings on the likely impact of the reforms and will be formally consulted next month. One NCO in his 30s who has seen combat in Iraq and Afghanistan said he planned to retire at 42 after 22 years.

But the proposed changes would cost him 202,800 between leaving the Army and being able to draw on his pension.

The NCO said: "You can't believe the impact this is going to have. I can't sleep for worrying about how I am going to keep myself and my family afloat.

"My son was talking about going in the Forces but there's no way I would let him now.

"How can you be asked to risk your life for 22 years with nothing at the end of it?"

Under current rules such a soldier would get an immediate pension of 700 a month plus a 40,000 resettlement grant to ease him back into civilian life.

At 55 his pension would rise for the rest of his life in line with the RPI. But under the new proposals he would get a pay-off of just 10,000 and have to wait until he was 60 for a lower pension.

The Forces Pension Society has warned the situation will be even grimmer for war widows and wounded soldiers who are invalided out. Only soldiers who are already aged 45 or over will escape the reforms.

Other branches of the Services are also expected to feel a pensions backlash. A Navy insider said: "There is real anger."

The MoD stressed that Forces pension benefits earned before the changes took effect would be protected.

Last week civilians employed in the public sector staged a one-day strike in protest at plans which would reduce pensions

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