Forgot Login?   Sign up  

The following article has been archived, and not kept up-to-date.


canstockphoto25616243optThe Government has confirmed that the registration deadline in order to vote in the EU referendum is being extended by 48 hours to MIDNIGHT (2359 hours BST) this THURSDAY 9TH JUNE. Visit aboutmyvote.co.ukaboutmyvote.co.uk now to register online in good time.

You don't need to register again if you are already registered, which you are if you received a polling card or postal vote for the elections across the country on 11th May, and haven't changed your address since then.

Tags: Armed forces voters - Service voters

Register to read more ...EU referendum: registration deadline extended to midnight Thu 9 June

canstockphoto25616243optTime is running out to register to vote ahead of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union on 23 June. The deadline to register is midnight on Tuesday 7 June.

Since the launch of the Electoral Commission’s public awareness campaign on 15 May, over 1.35 million people in England, Wales and Scotland have already applied online to register to vote.

Tags: Armed forces voters - Service voters

Register to read more ...EU referendum: last chance to register to vote

canstockphoto25616243optARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE? If you aren’t already registered to vote, you must register by Tuesday 7 June if you want to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June. It takes about 5 minutes to register online. You will need your National Insurance number. But you don't need to register again if you could have voted in the recent local elections, and haven't changed your address since then.

DO YOU NEED TO ARRANGE A PROXY OR POSTAL VOTE? If so, you must apply by 5pm on Wednesday 8 June (or Friday 3 June in Northern Ireland). But postal votes for service voters will start to be issued on 23 May, so the sooner you apply the better.

Tags: Armed forces voters - Service voters

Register to read more ...EU Referendum 2016: you must be registered by 7 JUNE

Veterans and their family members are being asked to say what they think about the provision of mental health services by taking part in an NHS England survey that closes soon - on 31 March 2016. This consultation is really important. If you are a veteran and use, or have used, NHS mental health services, please take the time to take part.

Tags: Veterans Mental health England

Register to read more ...Veterans mental health survey by NHS England - closes 31 March

Some media are claiming that some serving personnel are likely to defy a ban on serving personnel particpating in tomorrow's protest march in support of jailed "Marine A", Al Blackman. Inevitably there are differing views as to whether such a ban is appropriate. The writer, barrister, and RN reservist Frank Ledwidge put the case on Radio 4 against the ban. Another view was posted by the BAFF chairman on the Army Rumour Service website 'ARRSE':

Tags: Human rights and forces personnel Service Discipline and Military Law

Register to read more ...Troops "expected to defy" ban on attending "Marine A" march

The information below is for anyone who had service administrative action taken against them as a result of a police caution between Dec 2008 and Sep 2011, and has left the forces. You may have grounds for a service complaint, and may wish to seek legal advice if administrative action had serious consequences for you. Members can consult BAFF.

Tags: Legal Service Discipline and Military Law

Register to read more ...Was administrative action taken against you as a result of a police caution beween Dec 2008 and...

There is a service for military veterans to have their hip or knee arthritis assessed and, if appropriate have joint replacement surgery. We understand that the service is led by Lt Col Carl Meyer, Military Consultant Hip and Knee Arthroplasty Surgeons at Oswestry’s Specialist Orthopaedic Hospital.

Tags: Veterans

Register to read more ...Hip & Knee Surgery Service for Regular and National Service Veterans

In the latest episode of his "Unreliable Evidence" programme on Radio 4, Clive Anderson and guests discuss "the controversial suggestion that the UK should withdraw from human rights legislation and re-instate 'combat immunity' to protect the British Army from legal action." The programme is available at the link below:

Tags: Human rights and forces personnel Legal

Register to read more ...'Unreliable evidence' programme discusses Human Rights on the Battlefield

The deadlines for applying for a proxy or postal vote in the General Election have now passed. But an "emergency proxy vote" can still be applied for in certain circumstances. Details below, courtesy of the Electoral Commission site aboutmyvote.co.ukaboutmyvote.co.uk.

Tags: Armed forces voters - Service voters

Register to read more ...General Election 2015: Proxy vote can still be arranged in certain emergencies

Pension campaigners Equality for Veterans Association (EfVA) have announced that Katy Clark MP has secured a Parliamentary debate on Veterans' Pensions. The debate, which will take place on Monday 16th March 2015 in Westminster Hall, will focus on veterans who left the armed forces prior to the introduction of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme in 1975. UPDATE: view or read the debate here:

Tags: Pre-1975 pensions

Register to read more ...MPs to debate 'Pre-1975 forces pensions injustice'

For those registered Scottish voters who have already arranged a postal vote, your postal ballot pack should be posted to you today Tuesday 26 August or tomorrow.

If you want a postal or proxy vote and have not have arranged one, you can still apply until 3 September, which would be leaving it very late. The deadline to register to vote is 2 September. Don't be lastminute.com if you want your vote to count in this historic decision.

Tags: Armed forces voters - Service voters Scotland

Register to read more ...Scottish Referendum: Postal voting has begun

CMR

Company details and Claims Management Registration

BAFF (2006) Ltd is a not-for-profit membership Company Limited by Guarantee, registered in England number 598253.

Registered Office: 1st Floor, 11 Church Street, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 6LS.

BAFF (2006) Ltd is regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities; its registration is recorded on the website www.claimsregulation.gov.uk.

More than four million official poll cards have been posted out to voters in Scotland this week. Poll cards give details of your polling place and the polling hours, 7am to 10pm. Keep your card for polling day on 18 September because although you do not need to have it with you on the day, it will save time if you take it to the polling station and show it to the staff there.

Your poll card also has details of how to vote. Your address should also have received the Electoral Commission's 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum Voting Guide; if not, click here for an online copy. Also available: DIN2013DIN01-242 Scottish Independence Referendum - Guidance for Service personnel wishing to vote. The Q&A from the DIN were widely published online - such as here on the RAF Community Support websitehere on the RAF Community Support website.

An internal reminder has been issued recently to encourage all eligible personnel and their families to register to vote.

Tags: Armed forces voters - Service voters Scotland

Register to read more ...Final Countdown to the Scotland Independence Referendum: Are you registered to vote?

The Government has now confirmed acceptance of Sir John Holmes's latest recommendations, introducing new clasps for Cyprus 1963-64 and the Berlin Airlift, and introducing revised qualification criteria for the South Atlantic Medal (1982) and the General Service Medal with clasp 'CYPRUS' for operations 1955-59. Full details below.

BAFF congratulates all who are to benefit from the announced changes.

Tags: Honours and awards

Register to read more ...Further changes to MOD medals and clasps following Sir John Holmes's Independent Review

D-Day 70 - Award of the Legion d'Honneur

In conjunction with events to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy landings, the Government of France has advised the Ministry of Defence that it wishes to award the Legion d'Honneur to all surviving veterans; not only of the landings, but also the wider Battle for Normandy; the Invasion of Provence (Operation Dragoon); the Liberation of Paris and the Liberation of France.

Tags: Veterans Commemorations

Register to read more ...D-Day 70 - Award of the Legion d'Honneur

Members of the Volunteer Reserves, their spouses or civil partners, and their dependent children are now eligible for the HM Forces Railcard.

Available from 1 July 2014, the railcard will save a third off normal fares. Existing holders were already saving an average of £143 per year.

Register to read more ...HM Forces Railcard extended to members of the Volunteer Reserves and their families

Following a change to the Referendum Bill currently being considered in the Scottish Parliament, the 16 and 17 year old children of relevant service families outwith Scotland WILL be able to vote in the Scottish independence referendum on 18 September, 2014.

The change will apply to eligible teenagers living with a relevant service voter parent in England, Wales or Northern Ireland - not only those overseas.

It appears however that service children will only be allowed to register and vote in the referendum if their service parent is themselves registered to vote in Scotland as a service voter.

Tags: Armed forces voters - Service voters Service families Scotland

Register to read more ...Teenage children of service families overseas to vote in Scottish independence referendum

Timed to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference, Mr Hammond, the Secretary of State announced a new ‘Forces Help to Buy’ scheme to help personnel buy their first home. The £200m trial will start from April 2014 for the next 3 years and will offer Regular personnel loans of up to 50% salary, capped at £25,000, interest-free and repayable over a 10-year period.

Register to read more ...New Home Loan Scheme for Forces First Time Buyers

Milestone for Danish troops in Afghanistan

With Danish personnel serving robustly alongside our own troops in Afghanistan, BAFF highly values its friendship with EUROMIL member HKKF (Danish Army Private Soldiers and Corporals Association). A BAFF parliamentary reception at Westminster in 2009 included presentations by HKKF, and by a senior serving Danish officer who told parliamentarians about the vital contribution by military representative associations to his command in Helmand.

Register to read more ...Milestone for Danish troops in Afghanistan

Heather Stanning, a Captain in the Royal Artillery from Lossiemouth, Scotland, has taken Great Britain’s first gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games with partner Helen Glover after winning in the final of the women's pair rowing. The pair made history as they also became the first women rowers to win an Olympic gold medal for the UK.

Tags: British Army

Register to read more ...Army captain Heather Stanning gives Team GB its first Olympic gold

First round of Royal Navy redundancies imminent

After more than 2,000 soldiers and 1,000 airmen were sacked earlier this monthh, Royal Navy personnel will find out whose jobs are to go on 30 September. About 1,600 navy personnel out of a total force of 31,500 are expected to be laid off during the first tranche of cuts.

Although those who are within six months of deploying for an operation are safe from compulsory redundancy, some sailors who took part in the early stages of the Libya operation are eligible.

Tags: Naval Service

Register to read more ...First round of Royal Navy redundancies imminent

Poles, Czechs and Slovaks fought in British skies, far from home, and helped win the Battle of Britain.

Those service personnel who joined British forces in the skies and on the ground are being honoured in an exhibition at the RAF Museum in north London. BritishForcesNews reports (19 Sep).

Register to read more ...Exhibition to honour foreign nationals who served in Battle of Britain

Today's Scotsman leads with claims by former officers that the Ministry of Defence decision to move the army out of Edinburgh and sell off its historic buildings is financially driven, unpopular and gives the impression of "chaos at the top". BAFF comment: The availability of land for a new major training area is likely to be a major element in this decision, but the needs of personnel and their families also need be taken into account. The Scotsman story continues:

Tags: Scotland

Register to read more ...Scotsman: 'Backlash over MOD super-barracks plan'

After the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition's first 100 days in office, the BBC's Defence Correspondent Caroline Wyatt writes that the coalition is in a difficult position on defence: "It inherited an unpopular war in Afghanistan, as well as a black hole in the defence procurement budget of some £37bn of equipment - ordered over the next decade without the guaranteed funding to pay for it."

Register to read more ...Caroline Wyatt: Coalition in difficult position on defence

Coalition Agreement published

The Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition has published the full text of its Coalition Agreement on a programme for government. Click to view the Defence and Foreign Affairs sections of the agreement. The full text can be viewed here.


8. DEFENCE

The Government believes that we need to take action to safeguard our national security at home and abroad. We also recognise that we need to do much more to ensure that our Armed Forces have the support they need, and that veterans and their families are treated with the dignity that they deserve.

•  We will maintain Britain's nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives. We will immediately play a strong role in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and press for continued progress on multilateral disarmament.

•  We will aim to reduce Ministry of Defence running costs by at least 25%.

•  We will work to rebuild the Military Covenant by:

– ensuring that Service personnel's rest and recuperation leave can be maximised;

– changing the rules so that Service personnel only have to register once on the Service register;

– exploring the potential for including Service children as part of our proposals for a pupil premium;

– providing university and further education scholarships for the children of Servicemen and women who have been killed on active duty since 1990;

– providing support for ex-Service personnel to study at university,

– creating a new programme, 'Troops for Teachers', to recruit ex-Service personnel into the teaching profession;

– providing extra support for veteran mental health needs; and

– reviewing the rules governing the awarding of medals.

•  We will double the operational allowance for Armed Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan, and include Armed Forces pay in our plans for a fair pay review.

•  We will ensure that injured personnel are treated in dedicated military wards.

•  We will look at whether there is scope to refurbish Armed Forces' accommodation from efficiencies within the Ministry of Defence.

•  We will support defence jobs through exports that are used for legitimate purposes, not internal repression, and will work for a full international ban on cluster munitions.


15. FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Government believes that Britain must always be an active member of the global community, promoting our national interests while standing up for the values of freedom, fairness and responsibility. This means working as a constructive member of the United Nations, NATO and other multilateral organisations including the Commonwealth; working to promote stability and security; and pushing for reform of global institutions to ensure that they reflect the modern world.

•  We will take forward our shared resolve to safeguard the UK's national security and support our Armed Forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

•  We will push for peace in the Middle East, with a secure and universally recognised Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state.

•  We will work to establish a new 'special relationship' with India and seek closer engagement with China, while standing firm on human rights in all our bilateral relationships.

•  We will maintain a strong, close and frank relationship with the United States.

•  We want to strengthen the Commonwealth as a focus for promoting democratic values and development.

•  We will work to promote stability in the Western Balkans.

•  We will support concerted international efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

•  We support reform of the UN Security Council, including permanent seats for Japan, India, Germany, Brazil and African representation.

•  We will work to intensify our cultural, educational, commercial and diplomatic links with many nations beyond Europe and North America to strengthen the UK's relations with the fastest-growing areas of the world economy.

•  We will never condone the use of torture.

mm

Soldiers who are sick or injured will be given enhanced support to help them successfully return to duty or transition into civilian life under new plans announced by the MOD today, Thursday 11 February 2010.

The Army Recovery Capability (ARC) will take soldiers from the point of injury or illness through to their return to duty or into a successful and supported civilian life.

Register to read more ...MoD: New plans to support sick and injured soldiers

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox says our allies should fight or fund more of the war

From The Sunday Times, January 31, 2010, by Jonathan Oliver and Isabel Oakeshott

LIAM FOX, the shadow defence secretary, suggested German money should subsidise British forces in Afghanistan, as he called for reform of the 60-year-old Nato military alliance.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Fox claimed it was unfair that the countries doing most of the fighting were also footing the largest bills.

Register to read more ...Liam Fox: UK taking ‘unfair hit’ in Afghan war

Quiet sense of purpose in Afghanistan

from Martin Givens, More guile needed in the Afghan game, Sunday Times 24 January 2010:

No visitor to the British army base in Lashkar Gah, Helmand, could fail to be moved by the quiet sense of purpose of the officers and the cheery idealism of the men and women — hard to appreciate back home when the news is a daily diet of explosions and death. Soldiers spoke of the villages they had helped, the wells dug, the bridges built. Winning hearts and minds on their lips sounds less a tired old slogan, more a vocation.

Defence spending is lowest since the 1930s

Defence spending is lowest since the 1930s

By Christopher Hope Whitehall Editor and George Jones

Published: 12:01AM GMT 22 Jan 2007

Britain spends less of its wealth on defence than Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey despite the constant demands placed on its Armed Forces, official figures show.

According to the Conservatives, defence spending as a proportion of the UK's gross domestic product is at its lowest since 1930, before the UK recognised the rising threat of Nazi Germany.

Cost-cutting imposed by the Ministry of Defence is now threatening the Navy's warship-building programme and leading to unprecedented levels of disaffection among senior serving and recently retired officers....

Defence policy: New wars for old

But this is not an argument that can or should be left to the military chiefs or the boffins. In the end it is also about the kind of British military effort that fits with the kind of nation we want to be. It is a debate that should be at the heart of the general election campaign too.

From a Guardian Editorial, 19 January 2010

And from Thomas Harding in The Daily Telegraph: Whitehall's civil war will decide our place in the world.

Geoff Hoon 'denied Iraq soldiers equipment that could have saved lives''

Tories demand that Chilcot inquiry establishes whether then defence secretary delayed ordering body armour.

The government was accused last night of denying British soldiers vital equipment that could have saved their lives in Iraq as a bitter party political row threatened to engulf the Chilcot inquiry into the war.

Two days before Geoff Hoon, the former defence secretary, prepares to give evidence to the inquiry, the Conservatives are demanding that it establish the truth behind claims that Hoon delayed ordering enhanced body armour shortly before the invasion because ministers did not want to alert the public to their preparations and stoke opposition to war.

 

 

Having no party political affiliation, BAFF conducts its political contacts entirely on a cross-party basis. The Federation's approach to the forthcoming UK Patrliamentary General Election of 2010 is primarily to encourage members of the armed forces to register to vote, and then to exercise their own voting choice when the election comes. While focussing on personnel rather than defence equipment and strategic issues, BAFF has consistently argued for the nation to allocate whatever resources are required in order to achieve its foreign policy and homeland defence aims. The article below is another reminder of the starkness of the crisis, whatever the hue of the next Government may prove to be.

The Tory defence policy will be simple: cut, brutally

Max Hastings

Wednesday, 13th January 2010

 

The British military has been horribly overstretched by the wars of the Labour years, says Max Hastings. But the Tories’ only option will be to cut further still. Hideous decisions lie ahead

Britain’s armed forces sometimes suppose that they get a better break from Conservative governments than Labour ones, but their recent experience suggests otherwise. After 11 years of Margaret Thatcher, it proved necessary to cannibalise the entire armoured resources of the Rhine Army to deploy a weak division for the First Gulf War. Today, the services welcome the prospect of a Tory government after a long period of policy paralysis. But they are also braced for bad news. They know the Tories intend brutally to reduce defence spending.

David Cameron has committed himself to protecting the health and overseas aid budgets, while reducing government expenditure elsewhere by at least 10 per cent. A new defence secretary will take over a department with a huge accumulated deficit. Budget cuts will be rendered more painful because for the past two years the current government has cynically pushed back payment of some big bills until after the election, when they will arrive with ‘final demand’ stickers. The core annual defence budget is around £34 billion. A further £10-20 billion is adrift on programmes authorised but unfunded.

Thus there is a crisis, which cannot possibly be resolved by efficiency savings, salami-slicing or the familiar expedient of distributing pain between all three services. Some very big programmes must be axed. When the forthcoming Strategic Defence Review is complete, and cuts implemented, Britain’s armed forces are certain to look quite different from what they are today. The only issue at stake is where the axe will fall most heavily.

From the same article by Max Hastings:

This week, Professor Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute offered a projection that, if the MoD takes its share of pain in the new world of Britain’s colossal fiscal deficit, numbers of uniformed service personnel might fall by 20 per cent to 142,000 within the space of six years. He also believes the defence budget will fall by between 15 per cent and 20 per cent over the same period. As General Lord Guthrie points out, the armed forces are already so shrunken that further cuts will be imposed upon a perilously low base.

Finally, an interesting statistic from the same article by Sir Max Hastings:

... we have in the field barely a third of the number of soldiers deployed in Northern Ireland in the 1970s...

 

The Armed Forces will be forced to slash 33,000 troops in order to balance the books at the Ministry of Defence, an influential think tank report has disclosed.

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent and Aislinn Laing, Defence Correspondent

Published: 7:31AM GMT 13 Jan 2010

With the likelihood of a real terms cut of 15 per cent to the defence budget the number of tanks, ships and planes will also have to be similarly reduced.

Britain’s place at the “top table” for world security is likely to be threatened with the economic downturn influencing its ability to equip and pay for a premier military.

The news comes as new figures show that infantry battalions are employing 5,000 troops – a fifth of their strength – who are not fit for service. The MoD is also said to be preparing to force out wounded soldiers who can no longer be used for the front line.

Enforced budget cuts will mean that the Armed Forces total strength will fall from 175,000 to 142,000 by 2016 said the report by the think tank Royal United Services Institute.

The projected 20 per cent reduction of service personnel would cause “considerable upheaval” with bases closed and employees made redundant.

Injured Armed Forces veterans will be guaranteed priority NHS care for life under new plans unveiled by ministers.

By Aislinn Laing

Published: 4:00PM GMT 11 Jan 2010

The initiative will start with a tailored healthcare plan drawn up before each serviceman or woman leaves the forces.

GPs and hospital staff will be reminded of their duty to provide priority care to those veterans and health authorities will be expected each to nominate a director to ensure they do.

Six pilot projects which saw NHS clinical psychologists appointed to work exclusively with veterans will be rolled out across the country, and six new mental health nurses from the military charity Combat Stress will be appointed in selected NHS trusts to link veterans with the right medical help.

The NHS will also match Defence Medical Services spending on prosthetic limbs for those veterans who need replacements in later life.

Full article at Telegraph.co.uk

From a question and answer session with the Secretary of State in The Independent, 30 November 2009

Q. My American, Australian and Canadian colleagues do not pay income tax when serving their countries. Are there any plans to make UK forces more equal with our closest allies? I am well aware that our basic salaries are higher, in relative terms, than these colleagues; the much greater cost of living in the UK more than cancels out this advantage and our relative purchasing power, rank for rank, is similar. Flight Lieutenant Alex Morrison by email

A. The Labour government introduced a tax-free lump sum operational allowance of up to £2,380 (paid at the end of a six-month tour). We opted for this rather than tax-free pay because it puts more money in the ordinary soldier's pocket. It gives equal benefit to all ranks. In addition to the operational allowance, personnel on six-month tours also get a minimum of £1,194 in separation allowance. The independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body has commissioned a survey on remuneration, nation-by-nation, and this will inform its 2010 report.Deployed personnel also receive a council tax relief payment.

NHS doctors who are members of the reserve forces are reporting difficulty obtaining time off for their reserve forces training.

NHS Trusts have also been showing increasing reluctance to recruit staff who are members of the armed forces.

These reports relate to doctors. BAFF is also prepared to publicise any similar problems for other professional NHS staff who are members of the reserve forces.

Register to read more ...Problems for NHS doctors serving in the reserve forces

Researchers at King's College London have found that common mental disorders such as depression and alcohol misuse are the top psychological problems amongst UK troops post-deployment and not post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as is widely believed. The study published in the open access journal, BMC Psychiatry, also finds that reservists remain at special risk of operational stress injury.

Tags: Medical, health, recovery

Register to read more ...Health fears for returning soldiers: 'Reservists at special risk'

Ahead of Remembrance Sunday, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has published a special report highlighting the long-standing and continued support for the Armed Forces. Remembering the Brave: The Muslim Contribution to Britain’s Armed Forces outlines how Muslims have made a historic contribution to the defence of this nation. The document also covers the current contribution of British Muslims to the UK military. A copy of the report can be downloaded from the MCB website.

Register to read more ...Remembering the Brave: Report affirms long-standing British Muslim support for HM Forces

Having had meetings with bereaved families, the Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot has announced that the initial public hearings for the Iraq Inquiry will begin on Tuesday 24th November 2009 at the QEII conference centre in central London. The hearings will run until 17th December, break for Christmas, then start again during the week of 4th January 2010. It is expected they will run until early February.

Evidence must be given in public says Iraq war inquiry chairman

(Press Association) Public hearings in the Iraq war inquiry will begin on 24 November at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre near the Houses of Parliament. Organisers have laid out guidelines for witnesses which stress that figures including ministers and senior military officers will be expected to give live evidence. Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot said witnesses could only give evidence in private for "genuine" reasons. He said: "Ministers, senior military officers, members of the senior civil service and their equivalents, and former holders of those posts, should all expect to give evidence in public."

 

 

Chapter 24 of the Nimrod Review report identifies a number of current weaknesses in the area of personnel in the MOD which have an impact on the effectiveness of the MOD Airworthiness regime.

“Safety is delivered by people, not paper” (Andrew Macfarlane, Nuclear Regulator, 2008)

“It takes a whole community to ensure that we get [Operational Safety, Suitability and

Effectiveness].” (A Fleet Chief Engineer, US Air Force, 2008)

Haddon-Cave makes Recommendations for a New Personnel Strategy. From page 560 of the report:

Summary

1. People deliver Airworthiness.

2. There are currently weaknesses in the area of personnel in the MOD, namely:

(1) Undervaluing and dilution of engineers and engineering skills.

(2) Engineers are not required to have professional status.

(3) Decline in the ability of the MOD to act as an “intelligent customer”.

(4) Turf wars and inter-service rivalries for jobs and roles.

(5) Short term two-year postings.

(6) Constant re-naming of posts.

(7) ‘Double-hatting’ and ‘gapping’.

(8) Lack of trained Safety Engineers.

(9) Selfishness, rewards and promotion for ‘change’.

(10) Shortage of manpower and skills fade.

3. There should be a New Personnel Strategy to address each of these weaknesses.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recently lost an appeal against an employment tribunal ruling that it discriminated against a single mother soldier on grounds of both sex and race. BAFF were not involved, but the judgement indicates that the soldier was represented by the Federation's solicitors Russell, Jones & Walker.

More Employment Appeal Tribunal judgements involving Ministry of Defence:

Register to read more ...MoD loses appeal against single mums claim for sex and race discrimination

Scottish government news release 20/10/09: Reserve forces in the NHS

NHS employees who also serve in the armed forces are set to benefit from increased support.

NHSScotland employs a number of staff in the Reserve Forces who may be mobilised to serve their country in areas of conflict.

The new policy will set out arrangements for mobilisation and support for Reservists on return to work. Paid leave of two weeks per year will now be available to Reservists to attend annual camp or continuous training.

Tags: Scotland

Register to read more ...Increased support for reserve forces members who are employees of NHS Scotland

'The Territorial Army deserves better'

From Guardian.co.uk 16 Oct 2009: The Territorial Army deserves better | A TA soldier writes | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

The MoD has relied heavily on our services in recent years, and brutal cuts are our reward, writes a TA soldier

I have been a serving member of the Territorial Army (TA) for several years. During this time I have seen many changes, the most notable being the compulsory mobilisation of TA soldiers in 2003 to fight the war in Iraq. I was mobilised and spent several months away from family and friends, my part-time job becoming a full-time occupation. During my time in theatre I served alongside regular soldiers, doing the job of a regular soldier, and the fact that I was part of the TA was no issue, with many completely unaware this was the case.

My unit continues to train TA soldiers for overseas tours, including the conflict in Afghanistan. However, recent events have made me question whether the TA, having offered its support, is now receiving the support it needs. Budget cuts this year have already led to a reduction in TA training days, and now we are told there will be a six-month halt to all training. This has already led to some units shutting up shop until April 2010. The army has a responsibility to provide the right training for the people it is sending into war zones. This is difficult enough already for the TA, only having its recruits part-time – with a reduction in training, will our soldiers have the necessary skills to serve their country in the future?

Since the Ministry of Defence announcement I have witnessed a fall in morale among TA soldiers, with many questioning whether there is a future for them within the armed forces. We are told that there is just one army, regular and part-time, but it is hard to believe this is the case when it is the TA bearing the full brunt of budget cuts. If my unit is put on a six-month stand-down I am not sure how many of its soldiers will return, meaning the loss of some very skilled men and women. I am saddened that in an age when the TA is increasingly being used for frontline duties it seems to be facing a fight for survival.

The MoD has been happy to use the TA to bridge gaps, but now that the recession has boosted recruitment in the regular army and fewer soldiers are leaving, it seems our services are not as essential. We are in effect being made redundant without any compensation, and yet will still be expected to put our lives on the line if called upon. It is important to note that many TA soldiers would still be prepared to do this if needed, highlighting their unwavering commitment.

A lot is asked of our TA soldiers. We work full-time jobs during the week, and then give up many of our weekends to undertake training. We are happy to do this if the sacrifices we make are valued, but to many this latest announcement is a hard blow to bear.

If this signals the end of the Territorial soldier it will leave a very bitter taste for me and many others, who have devoted years to what we believe to be a truly worthwhile cause.

 

The author of this article, a TA soldier, wishes to remain anonymous

 

Tags: British Army

According to the Birmingham Post on 15 Oct 2009, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “The MoD has noted the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s Judgment and is considering its implications to see what lessons can be learned for the future.

“The MoD takes this further opportunity to apologise to Ms Fletcher for the conduct towards her, which was found in the Leeds Employment Tribunal judgment to be discriminatory.

“There is no place for harassment or discrimination of any sort in the Armed Forces and we are committed at the highest levels of leadership to dealing with it.”

BAFF comment

The MoD's reaction is sensible and we welcome the apology to Lance Bombardier Kerry Fletcher and the commitment to deal with harassment or bullying of any kind. It is true that a few individual members of the excellent Army Rumour Service website have been queuing up to rejoice in the reduction of Ms Fletcher's award, in some cases in totally unacceptable terms amounting to online bullying.

Members of the armed forces are no saints, nor are they known for political correctness, but we hear that the vast majority of those concerned are no longer serving.

 

The UK's role as a global military power is coming to an end and spending cuts leave the country at risk of becoming "Little Britain," a study has said.

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph

Published: 7:00AM BST 02 Oct 2009

Unless politicians change course and agree to maintain defence spending at its current levels, the country will be left unable to conduct international military operations independently, according to the Royal United Services Institute.

Register to read more ...Little Britain will not be global military power, warns RUSI

BFPOs in NATO locations to be retained

According to the Belfast Telegraph [confirmed on 7 October - BAFF link] the Ministry of Defence has announced it is to maintain British Force Post Offices (BFPO) in 12 locations across mainland Europe after originally earmarking their closure for next year.

A spokesperson for the MoD said: "Families, federations and others have brought to our attention a number of potential impacts associated with the proposed closures of 12 British Forces Post Offices (BFPO). As a result, we have decided to maintain a BFPO service to these locations. They will retain their BFPO numbers so that personnel can continue to send and receive mail and access UK based services such as internet banking and online shopping."

 

Bob Ainsworths speech to Labour Conference

Labour's Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth's speech at the 2009 Labour Party Annual Conference:
 

Conference,

It is an enormous privilege to be the Secretary of State for Defence.
Representing our Armed Forces – the best in the world.

Daily, our Armed Forces are doing a difficult job,
taking great risk on our behalf,
facing a violent and prolonged fight in Afghanistan.

Daily, there are reports of bravery  –
of acts of courage carried out in the line of duty by professional soldiers, doing their job.

This year, 81 soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for their country;
52 of them since I became Defence Secretary in June.
71 have sustained life changing injuries in the same period.

In my experience they don’t want plaudits for what they do.
They do however deserve our thanks and they expect,
and are absolutely entitled to,
our support.

The public rightly ask questions:
Why are we there?
How long will we need to stay?
Are our troops properly equipped?
Can we afford to be fighting there?
Can we win?

My job as Defence Secretary is to answer these questions;
To ensure that, when the country’s resolve is tested, we hold firm;
And to ensure that the stability of the whole region and the credibility of the NATO alliance is not put at risk by our walking away.

Conference, in my view – we can’t afford NOT to be there.

Register to read more ...Bob Ainsworths speech to Labour Conference

From the Labour Party conference speeches

From Gordon Brown's speech to the Labour Conference:

... and let me talk today about how we will do more to support the great British institutions that best define this country.

The first is the one I spoke about in detail on Sunday when I talked about the mission of our brave men and women in Afghanistan.

The heroism of our fighting men and women is unsurpassed and we owe them a debt we can never fully repay. And let us on behalf of the British people pay tribute to them and their courage today.

The British armed forces truly are the finest in the world. And let us say to them – all British forces will always have all the equipment they need and the best support we can give.

And conference let me say, Britain will work with President Obama and 40 other countries for peace and stability for the people of Afghanistan, and to make sure that terrorism doesn’t come to the streets of Britain.

From Harriet Harman's speech to the Labour Conference:

The lives of women today - and their hopes and ambitions are different from our mothers’. And that is the case

whether you are a girl school leaver in Scotland

or a young mother in Wales

whether you are one of the thousands of wives of our armed forces.

The wives of our servicemen have always held things together at home. And their task has become even more demanding with the men away fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Just like every other woman, service wives want to, and need to, get training, get work, find childcare. But that’s hard if your family has to move regularly and if you are on a base miles away from your parents and in-laws. That’s why Bob Ainsworth, the Secretary of State for Defence, and I are working with ministers across government to make sure that as well as doing all we can to support our armed forces, We are helping our armed forces wives’ so they don’t lose out on new opportunities to get on in their work. Our navy, airforce and soldiers make a great sacrifice for our country and we back them up. Their wives, too, make an enormous personal sacrifice for this country and we will back them up too.

By James Kirkup, The Daily Telegraph, in Brighton. Published: 7:30AM BST 29 Sep 2009: Labour pushed Armed Forces too hard, admits Ainsworth

Labour pushed the Armed Forces “too hard” in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary, has admitted.

Mr Ainsworth said that trying to conduct two wars at the same time had put too much strain on the military.

Because the forces now need to recover from that pressure, he said, Britain will only be able to make a “small” extra deployment in Afghanistan.

General Stanley McChrystal, the Nato commander in Afghanistan, has said that without more troops, the international mission there will fail.

Britain has 9,000 troops in Afghanistan, and the general has signalled he will ask Britain to increase that number, perhaps by as much as 2,000.

But speaking at a debate on the fringe of the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Mr Ainsworth said that the recent strains on the Armed Forces meant that Britain will be limited in its options.

“We had, a couple of years ago, 12,000 troops abroad on operations. They were running hot. To keep 12,000 abroad, deployed in operational theatres, was a lot.”

"We were pushing people too hard in many ways. It's not sustainable. It’s sustainable for a short period of time but not for a long period without consequences."

Now, Britain is nearing the limits of its ability to send troops to the front line, the minister said.

“If Gen McChrystal asks for a substantial contribution, we can only make a relatively small contribution to that,” he said, saying other Nato members must “step up to the plate” by sending more troops and allowing them to play a full combat role.

At the debate, Mr Ainsworth was contradicted by General Sir Mike Jackson, the former chief of the general staff, who said the UK can make a larger reinforcement in Afghanistan for a short time.

“We can. When so much blood and treasure has been expended, we should act decisively,” Sir Mike said. “If this is a critical year, we can do more on that time basis.”

Sir Mike’s views reflect those of serving commanders, who are pushing for a larger deployment to Afghanistan but meeting resistance from ministers.

Opening up a gap between the main parties on the issue, Liam Fox, the Tory shadow defence secretary said that a Conservative Government would be “sympathetic to a request for an increase in the number of British troops” to train Afghan security forces.

Since taking his post in June, Mr Ainsworth has been candid about Labour’s record on defence. Last month, he told The Daily Telegraph that the British Government and public alike had not done enough to support the Armed Forces.

Nontheless, he remains under pressure over Labour’s backing for the troops. At the fringe event, he was confronted by military families telling him frontline soldiers are being left without adequate basic supplies like boots and clothing.

Christine Bonner, whose son Darren was killed in Afghanistan in 2007, said kit failures are undermining the forces morale.

“I know of families who are having to send out boots and suchlike to their sons,” she said. “If they were getting what they are supposed to be getting, morale would be much higher.”

Asked if he accepted that some soldiers have to buy their own boots and other kit, he said: “No, I don’t. No.”

Last week, The Daily Telegraph disclosed that the leaking of details of MPs' expenses earlier this year was caused byanger at the Government’s failure to support and equip British troops on the front line in Afghanistan.

From an article by Andy McSmith, The Daily Telegraph, 29 September 2009:

Labour conference diary: Ainsworth listens to soldier's tale

 

"As I sit here, my legs are aching," Stuart Trow said. "I've got a bullet in my buttock and that's not comfortable."

You can bet it was not. Listening to the disabled former SAS soldier on the conference fringe provided one of those rare moments when the real-life impact of the decisions politicians make penetrated the strange bubble in which party conferences take place.

He was speaking at a meeting hosted by The Sun about the Afghanistan war. Mr Trow was shot during a tour of duty in Helmand and had a leg amputated below the knee. He has overcome his injuries sufficiently to be able to set out next month to climb Kilimanjaro but a lifetime of pain lies ahead.

He was wounded in 2001, too soon to benefit from the improved compensation scheme introduced in 2002, and although he said he was grateful for his pension, he would like to see that scheme backdated.

His remarks were directed at the Defence Secretary, Bob Ainsworth, who has a reputation for being a poor communicator but on this occasion handled hard questions sensitively. However, he was in no position to give Mr Trow satisfaction. The Treasury is opposed in principle to backdating. Why, if it conceded that principle, it might have forgotten Falklands veterans who have suffered 27 years of pain and trauma stepping forward to ask if they can be compensated too.

Lib Dem MP calls for a fair deal for our forces

From a Liberal Democrat press release:

MP LEADS CALL FOR A FAIR DEAL FOR OUR FORCES

12.00.00am BST (GMT +0100) Tue 22nd Sep 2009

Hampshire MP, Sandra Gidley, has led Liberal Democrat calls for a fair deal for the men and women of Britain's armed forces at the party's conference in Bournemouth.

Sandra, whose father served in the army, and whose constituency is home to the School of Army Flying, urged delegates to the Liberal Democrat conference to back a motion for better housing for our soldiers, and better access to education for their children.

Register to read more ...Lib Dem MP calls for a fair deal for our forces

BFPO closures

Updates: BFPOs in NATO locations to be retained (1.10.09) and Update on retention of BFPOs in NATO locations (7.10.09)

 

(18 Sep 2009) Rumours have been circulating for some time about plans to close a number of British Forces Post Offices. There have been suggestions that all Field Post Offices (FPOs) in mainland Europe will be closing next year.

However, in the absence of any public confirmation, we understand that the affected FPOs are all at NATO HQs -

BFPO 6   Lisbon Portugal
BFPO 8   Naples Italy (there have also been reports that the closure of BFPO 8 will not go ahead in 2010)
BFPO 26   SHAPE Belgium
BFPO 28   Brunssum Holland
BFPO 49   Brussels Belgium
BFPO 50   Stavanger Norway
BFPO 61   Milan Italy
BFPO 62   Valencia Spain
BFPO 63   Norfolk VA, USA
BFPO 65   Rome Italy
BFPO 109   Ramstein Germany
BFPO 150   Karup Denmark

We are very concerned about the effect of these closures upon armed forces personnel and their families. Some of the effects might be mitigated by increases to Local Overseas Allowances (LOA) - which will reduce any savings to the public purse as a result of the closures. Other effects cannot be mitigated by LOA adjustments, such as:

  • Extra delays in postal votes, and disincentive to vote as prepaid envelopes will not be valid
  • Difficulties with banks, building societies and other financial institutions
  • Difficulties obtaining goods by post
  • Criminal record check problems when applying for employment
  • Loss of counter staff familiar with Royal Mail and UK conditions

More on BFPO Closures

Official website

Parliamentary question 1 Sep 2009

Ben Wallace (Shadow Minister, Scotland; Lancaster & Wyre, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent consideration he has given to future staffing levels in the British Forces Post Office; and if he will make a statement.

* Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 1 September 2009, c1798W)

Bill Rammell (Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence; Harlow, Labour)

The staffing levels of the British Forces Post Office are determined by the requirement to ensure that our personnel have access to appropriate postal facilities. Support to operations, exercises and to HM Ships can be provided only by British Forces Post Office staff. However, we have identified that savings may be realised if personnel based in countries with a well developed postal infrastructure utilise the indigenous postal service rather than relying on British Forces Post Office staff. To that end the Forces Post Offices servicing the UK elements of NATO HQs in SHAPE, Brussels, Brunssum, Stavanger, Karup, Rome, Milan, Lisbon, Valencia and Norfolk Virginia are due to close.

 

 

Following the statement by the Minister for the Armed Forces in the House of Commons on 28 April, 2009, the Ministry of Defence has released the following which includes links to the relevant documents:

A Strategic Review of the UK's Reserve Forces, which has looked at how the Reserves can be better organised, trained, equipped and supported, has been published today, Tuesday 28 April 2009.

Tags: Reserves

Register to read more ...MoD statement on the Strategic Review of the Reserves

A Muslim soldier is suing the Ministry of Defence over claims he was bullied and suffered racial discrimination whilst on active service with an SAS unit in Afghanistan.

By Lucy Cockcroft
Published: 5:39PM BST 06 Sep 2009

The British-born soldier, who is of Pakistani origin, said he was physically attacked and verbally abused by other serving soldiers in the unit over two months during a tour of Afghanistan in 2007.

A complaint lodged at employment tribunal said the alleged discrimination was racist, and continued when the soldier, who cannot be named for legal reasons and is known only as AB, returned to Britain.

He also claims that the authorities failed to properly look into his case.

The tribunal, due to start on Monday in Kingsway, central London, was ordered to be heard in private in the interests of national security.

The soldier appealed against the decision, but lost.

In the judgment to his appeal in July, Mr Justice Underhill said: "The claimant is a member of the armed forces. He is of Asian ethnic origin.

"He has brought proceedings against the Secretary of State for Defence claiming that he had been subjected to racial discrimination, including victimisation and harassment.

"While he was on active service overseas, as a member of a specialist unit, over a period of two months in early 2007 he was subjected to bullying, both in the form of physical assaults and offensive remarks, from fellow servicemen, which he claims was on racial grounds.

"He complains of inadequacies in the way that his subsequent complaints of ill-treatment were dealt with following his return to this country in mid 2007."

The five-day employment tribunal is expected to take place behind closed doors to protect the sensitive work of the soldiers involved in the case.

Almost all the witnesses are either former or active members of the special forces.

Summarising the MoD's argument in his judgment, Mr Justice Underhill said: "The nature of the work on which the claimant was engaged was very sensitive and that disclosure either of the nature of the work itself or in any event the modus operandi of the unit would be highly prejudicial to the effectiveness of that work, such that it might have to be abandoned altogether; and thus that disclosure would create a real risk to the lives of either the servicemen doing the work or of the others whose safety it was intended to promote."

But he added: "There is a public interest in exposing how complaints of discrimination in the armed forces are handled, even if the details of the particular incident cannot be addressed in a public hearing."

We have previously commented on the Smith case - known as Secretary of State for Defence v R and HM Assistant Deputy Coroner for Oxfordshire and Equality and Human Rights Commission - in which the Appeal Court had held that this protection applies whether or not soldiers are physically on an armed forces base or elsewhere.

The case arises from the death of Scottish TA soldier Jason Smith on a British Army base in Iraq in 2003. The MoD eventually accepted that the Human Rights Act applied to Jason Smith's case as he died on a British army base. However, it argued it did not apply to a British soldier who is off base and the MoD appealed the High Court ruling. The Court of Appeal found against the MoD but granted leave to appeal, on the basis that the MoD will bear the costs.

BAFF has learned that the Ministry of Defence has now lodged an appeal, which will be heard by the new Supreme Court for the United Kingdom.

Tags: Human rights and forces personnel

The Ministry of Defence announced on 26 May 2009 that it had launched a review into its policy governing women serving in ground close-combat roles:

Servicewomen are currently excluded from roles where there is a requirement to deliberately close with and kill the enemy face-to-face.

The investigation is required by European Community Law, which states that the UK Armed Forces are bound to conduct a review every eight years, under the Equal Treatment Directive.

The last review was undertaken in 2002 and it concluded that the policy to employ only male personnel in certain close-combat roles should remain.

related

Tags: Women in the Forces

Register to read more ...Review into servicewomen in ground close combat roles

 

MoD: Human rights ruling does not alter commanders' authority to make operational decisions, nor does it leave them open to personal legal challenge

According to a post on the unofficial 'Army Rumour Service'unofficial 'Army Rumour Service', the Chief of the Defence Staff issued the following statement on the day of the Appeal Court ruling in Secretary of State for Defence v R (Smith)Secretary of State for Defence v R (Smith):

"We are disappointed by this judgment, which allows claims to be brought against the Department under the Human Rights Act in relation to operations overseas. It has potential implications for the ability of our Armed Forces to conduct such operations, which we are now considering carefully.

"We take very seriously the duty of care we have to our people. But we have consistently argued that, in the heat of battle, during dynamic, fast-moving military operations on foreign territory, it would be unrealistic to expect to be able to guarantee the rights and freedoms which the European Convention on Human Rights seeks to secure.

"Nevertheless, I want to reassure commanders at all levels that this judgment does not alter their authority to make operational decisions, nor does it leave them open to personal legal challenge. Any claims under the Human Rights Act would be brought against the Department, not individual commanders; legal liability under the Act lies with MOD.


"Meanwhile, we shall continue to argue for a legal framework that enables our Armed Forces to sustain the very high level of effectiveness in difficult and dangerous operations that they have demonstrated so convincingly in recent years."

The highlighted paragraph is what BAFF had been saying along, but was in stark contrast with the MOD's own public reaction to the judgement -

... We are very concerned by the attempt to insert lawyers into the chain of command in the middle of a battle, which would only create uncertainty, hesitation and potentially greater risk to our people. [MoD Defence News, 19 May 2009]

 

Tags: Armed Forces Federation Human rights and forces personnel

Register to read more ...MoD now agrees with BAFF on human rights ruling

'Social Housing Discrimination' update 23 Jun 2010: The Housing (Scotland) Bill has passed its first stage in the Scottish Parliament. Opening the debate for the Scottish Government, Alex Neil MSP said that the bill will, amongst other things, "remove the absurd anomaly under which our servicemen and women are unable to form a local connection in the areas in which they were based during their service in the armed forces to enable them to get on the housing list."  BAFF strongly supports this reform, which follows a similar change south of the border.

Register to read more ...Social Housing: Service Personnel now able to establish Local Connection

Squaddies may sue over MOD slums

From the News of the World, Nov 2007

DEFENCE chiefs could be SUED over the squalid homes given to soldiers returning from war zones.

The troops' union is planning to take Defence Secretary Des Browne to court for compensation for servicemen and women forced to live in leaking, rat-infested old barracks.

And the British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF) wants the Ministry of Defence to be ordered to refurbish the run-down homes. BAFF chairman Doug Young said: "It beggars belief that the absolute worst barracks seem to have been reserved for some of the same units who have been fighting hardest in Afghanistan."

BAFF is in talks with troops and is offering free legal representation for any of its members who want to take the MOD on. A report recently revealed 19,000 soldiers and their families are living in conditions described by former top soldier General Sir Mike Jackson as "shaming".

BAFF can be contacted on...


(Originally published by News of the World, Nov 2007)

Armed forces prevented from voting

From the libertarian blog Jess The Dog, Aug 2009:

Most would agree that those who risk their lives to defend democracy should be the first in line to participate in it. However, the Labour government takes the opposite view. There was wide-scale electoral disenfranchisement of the Armed Forces in the 2005 general election and only a high-profile campaign forced the government into limited action.

Once more, there is a real danger that soldiers on operations will be denied the vote once more….and it is difficult not to conclude that this is a deliberate omission on the part of Labour ministers who realise their appalling treatment of the Armed Forces over the past five years – despite their sacrifices – will win them few votes.

Read more at Jess The Dog - Armed Forces Prevented from VotingArmed Forces Prevented from Voting. Mentions BAFF and the Service Voting Campaign.

Tags: Armed forces voters - Service voters

A Conservative Shadow Minister asked the Government if it will review the prohibition on insulin-dependent diabetics joining the armed forces. The Minister's reply indicated that there were no plans to review the policy whereby the services do not recruit or commission personnel with existing medical conditions which require regular access to medication, such as diabetes. The single services do, however manage individuals who develop diabetes during their service careers "according to their specific operational requirements" and "each case will be considered on an individual basis":

Register to read more ...Armed forces policy on medical conditions such as diabetes

The tri-service Armed Forces Act 2006was due to be implemented in January 2009, but the implementation date has been put back to late October for the reasons explained in this note from the Ministry of Defence:

Armed Forces Act 2006

For the first time in more than fifty years the legislation which underpins Service discipline is being completely re-written. The Armed Forces Act 2006 will harmonise the arrangements for discipline across all three Services so that all personnel are subject to the same system wherever in the world they are serving. This will increase fairness and efficiency, particularly in joint units, and thus support operational effectiveness.

The Armed Forces Act 2006 received Royal Assent in November 2006. Since then work has been underway on implemention. Our original target was to complete this work in January 2009, but Ministers have now agreed to postpone the implementation date.

The key reason for postponement is that the transitional provisions, which will provide the essential bridge between the three current Service Discipline Acts and the 2006 Act, have proven to be much more complex than originally anticipated.

As a result, the work will take longer. The 2006 Act will now be implemented in October 2009. The Service Discipline Acts, which have provided the legal basis for discipline in the Armed Forces since the 1950s, will be repealed in due course.

A Moral Obligation

bepatient_smallThe British Armed Forces Federation continues to support the campaign on behalf of Iraqis who are now in danger as a result of having worked alongside British forces or diplomats. Our support has been at the urgent request of serving BAFF members, along with ex-service members who have relied on local staff while on operations.

 

Has your MP signed EDM 401, a House of Commons 'Early Day Motion' initiated by Lynne Featherstone MP?

That this House recognises the courage of Iraqis who have worked alongside British troops and diplomats in southern Iraq, often saving British lives; notes that many such Iraqis have been targeted for murder by Iraqi militias in Basra, and that an unknown number have already been killed, whilst many others are in hiding; further recognises that many Iraqis who have worked for fewer than 12 months for the UK are threatened by death squads; and therefore calls upon the Prime Minister to meet the UK's moral obligations by offering resettlement to all Iraqis who are threatened with death for the "crime" of helping British troops and diplomats.

Ask your MP to sign the EDM if they haven't already. You can check here to see who has signed it: House of Commons - EDM 401House of Commons - EDM 401

  • BAFF obtained advice for the campaigners on a legal question;
  • We supplied information on previous situations in which British forces personnel had successfully taken steps to protect local staff;
  • From colleagues in Denmark, we obtained valuable information which has been put to good use by British campaigners and media.

Eadar-theangairean Iraqi a' faighinn comraich san Danmhairg...

BBC Scotland's weekly Gaelic-language TV magazine 'Eorpa' ('Europe') had a piece on 13 December 2007 about Iraqi interpreters being given asylum in Denmark. Along with interviews with former local staff, a Danish military spokesman emphasises the vital importance of interpreters in post-conflict operations, and a People's Party MP explains why his party decided to make an exception to their anti-immigration stance for these Iraqis.

external links

From The Bolton News, 2 June 2008

A BOLTON MP is backing moves to give soldiers a voice through the creation of an official British Armed Forces Federation. David Crausby wants ordinary servicemen to be recognised by the Government in the same way as police officers through the Police Federation. Mr Crausby, MP for Bolton North east, said: "The controversies surrounding the standard of accommodation, injured personnel and the terrible accidents at Deepcut barracks have increasingly led to ordinary members saying they need an organisation to make their voice heard."

Mr Crausby, who is vice-chairman of the House of Commons defence select committee, said a properly constituted Federation would improve career development; act as a go-between for servicemen and politicians; represent members in disputes over pay, accommodation, medical treatment, welfare provision and resettlement; back anyone facing legal action as a result of their service in the armed forces; bring about improved deals for soldiers in things like insurance. Mr Crausby, who voted against the Iraq War, said he was backing a Private Members' Bill that if passed, would pave the way for an armed forces federation to be recognised in law.

Thanks for visiting the BAFF website. Use of and access to the website is subject to our terms and conditions of use. The site makes normal use of cookies.

For more information please click here: The Legal Bit

If you are serving or have served in HM Armed Forces you can be a BAFF Member or Supporter.

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand. more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince