Bureaucracy gone mad or a cynical way to save money?
Sergeant and Mrs Michael Anderson
Image courtesy of Jolene Anderson
The British Army considers itself a caring, sharing family – a band of brothers and sisters – which places loyalty and support among its top priorities. This, at least, is what we are led to believe but is there a limit to the loyalty and support a serving soldier should expect? Apparently so. Consider the case of Sergeant Michael Anderson. He joined the army as a boy of sixteen and served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq. Subsequently he became involved in welfare, supporting the bereaved and the maimed.
It was his expectation that the Military Covenant would ensure that at the end of his military service he would receive a full military pension. The pension is the major financial promise in the recruitment, retention and promotion of personnel and is a resettlement payment to help soldiers make the move from service life to civilian life. For some it provides the wherewithal to secure a mortgage.
In June 2013 Sergeant Anderson was informed that he was to be made redundant – his redundancy will be effective three days before the end of his 22-year engagement, meaning that he will not qualify for his expected full military pension. Consequently, he will lose almost half of his promised pension.
So, at 38, with a wife and two young children, he must think again about his future in the civilian world, a future blighted by a broken promise for the sake of three days.
It is to be hoped that David Cameron will read and act favourably upon the petition Mrs Anderson has promoted and that Michael Anderson, and others like him, will be treated fairly.
Three days – a long weekend – that’s all, but it’s everything when a promise has been broken and long-cherished plans and dreams have been shattered.