PRESSURE is mounting on the government to scrap a pay cap on the military.
Soldiers, sailors, campaigners and politicians from Portsmouth are demanding the one per cent cap on salaries is finally axed.
The call for action comes after Theresa May buckled and approved a move to grant police and prison officers settlements above one per cent.
But Labour says this needs to go further, with the cap being axed across the public sector.
The party claimed that since the Tories took power in 2010, the starting pay of an army private had dropped £1,000 in real terms.
A senior soldier from Portsmouth said the pay cap was a huge frustration and backed calls for it to be lifted.
The Afghanistan veteran said: ‘The lads are annoyed. They risk their lives for Queen and country while binmen get paid more.’
Meanwhile an experienced sailor said people in the navy had been left ‘worse off’ by the cap.
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said the cap was a ‘burning issue’ that has been raised with him by military families in the city.
Speaking during a debate in Westminster, the Labour MP said: ‘As the MP for a city which is proud to be home of the Royal Navy, I will always speak up for those who dedicate their lives to defend our nation so we can improve conditions in respect of what they do for us, and to support their families.
‘The government must end the public sector pay cap for the armed forces.
‘They must give armed forces personnel a fair pay rise. That’s what our dedicated service personnel deserve.’
Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: ‘The chancellor has made it clear that the one per cent cap is being lifted and that we will have greater flexibility to respond to the recommendations of the armed forces pay review body.
‘It is for that review body to make its recommendations for 2018-19 and it has in its remit the power to consider the very specific recruitment and retention issues that may apply in the armed forces.’