COMMENT: Military pride is good but a decent wage is even better

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Praise from a man of the calibre of Simon Weston, CBE is high praise indeed.

A veteran of the Falklands War, he is known and respected the world over for his gruelling recovery and charity work after suffering severe burn injuries when RFA Sir Galahad was bombed at Bluff Cove.

When it comes to the military, he knows what he is talking about.

So Portsmouth’s pride should be glowing a little brighter today, after he said the city set an example to the rest of the UK for its ‘phenomenal support’ of members of the armed forces and their families.

He is right, of course. There is a palpable pride in Portsmouth, the home of the Royal Navy, for its place in world history and its role in the security of the nation.

Naval pride is hard-wired into the city’s DNA, and even newcomers feel it.

Which brings us to the thorny issue of what we pay our servicemen and women.

It is hard to put a price on the sacrifices they make, spending long periods away from their families, and putting their lives on the line when duty calls.

As we report today, pressure is mounting on the government to scrap a pay cap on the military.

Soldiers, sailors, air personnel, campaigners and politicians are demanding that the one per cent cap on salaries should be axed.

So there is reason for optimism at a statement from Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, that government policy will offer greater flexibility to the armed forces pay review body.

It is to be hoped that means a decent pay rise for our armed forces next year.

We owe them a lot, and a decent wage is the least they should expect.