Article 25 July 2013 by Ian Drury Daily Mail:
A soldier will miss out on almost £175,000 after his job was axed by defence bosses just 72 hours before he qualified for a full service pension.
Sergeant Michael Anderson, 35, was within three days of claiming a lifetime pension deal worth £261,278 for 18 years’ service.
He will now have to wait until he is 60 before receiving a package worth less than £90,000.
The case has fuelled suspicions that the Army, which is shedding 20,000 personnel in a cost-cutting exercise, is targeting those within
touching distance of generous lifetime payments.
Critics have accused the Government of breaking the Armed Forces Covenant, the nation’s duty of care to troops.
Sgt Anderson serves with the Royal Dragoon Guards and has completed tours of duty in Northern Ireland and Iraq. He now faces the prospect of losing his job, home and financial security.
His wife Jolene, 32, a mental health care manager, said her husband had been ‘repaid with betrayal’.
‘He is crushed,’ she said. ‘It is disgraceful that he has been discarded just three days short of qualifying for his immediate pension.
'My husband has been building a secure foundation for a future for our family and now we are going to be potentially homeless.
‘He has been expected to live by and uphold the Army’s values of respect, integrity, loyalty and commitment.
‘Yet what respect, integrity and loyalty has he been shown by the MoD? Absolutely none.
‘We fully understand that cuts in personnel have to be made throughout the Armed Forces and across the public sector. But to wrench his pension away from him so close to qualifying is devious and completely undermines the values on which the Army is supposed to pride itself.’
Sgt Anderson, a father of two, lives in service housing in Catterick, North Yorkshire. The non-commissioned officer has also served as a casualty visitor, providing support for the families of killed or injured troops.
He was told last month he had been selected for compulsory redundancy from his job as a welfare officer with a 12-month notice period.
Soldiers must serve 18 years to earn an immediate pension and tax-free lump sum when they leave the Army. Sgt Anderson was stunned to find out his redundancy starts on June 18 next year – after 17 years and 362 days.
The axe also fell just two weeks before he was presented with a medal for long service and good conduct. He now receives a redundancy payout of £87,417, with a £4,374-a-year pension once he reaches 60.
Had he reached 18 years he would have been given £261,278 – a £51,926 lump sum plus £8,723 a year until the age of 60.
The difference between the two deals is £173,861.
Kevan Jones, a shadow defence minister, said the Government had left soldiers on the ‘financial scrapheap’.
‘This is no way to treat someone who has given their life to the defence of their country,’ he said.
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