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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

UK army chief earns double his US counterpart

Air Chief Marshall Sir Stuart Peach is paid a gross annual salary of between £255,000 and £259,000

Air Chief Marshall Sir Stuart Peach, head of British armed forces, is paid twice the salary of his American counterpart. Picture: Ross Tilly
Air Chief Marshall Sir Stuart Peach, head of British armed forces, is paid twice the salary of his American counterpart. Picture: Ross Tilly

Britain's army chief earns almost double his American counterpart's salary, despite overseeing a far smaller military, it has emerged.

Air Chief Marshall Sir Stuart Peach is paid a gross annual salary between £255,000 and £259,000, the UK's ministry of defence disclosed.

In contrast, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, earns the dollar equivalent of £133,800, his office in Washington told The Times. He also receives a personal allowance of £2,820.

The disparity in pay is all the more conspicuous when taking into account the size of Britain’s defence budget and military, compared to that in the US.

UK defence spending amounts to £35 billion, whereas the US defence budget is more than 12 times bigger at £429bn, MoD figures show.

The UK military has about 200,000 personnel, according to the MoD. This compares with 1.3 million in the US, The Times reported.

Labour MPs have criticised the difference in pay between the two army chiefs, particularly at a time when defence spending in the UK is at risk of cost-cutting measures. In addition, there is a 1 per cent pay cap in place within the armed forces – a policy which the Labour Party has repeatedly pledged to abolish.

“It doesn’t feel right and, more to the point, it isn’t right,” Madeleine Moon MP, a defence select committee member, told The Times.

Professor Trevor Taylor, a research fellow in defence management at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, said “there is undoubtedly a difference [in pay], which is quite surprising”.

However, he defended Air Chief Marshall Peach's pay by arguing it was still small compared to what chief executives in the private sector earn.

“If you take the armed forces as being an organisation of 200,000, if you were running a company with 200,000 employees, you’d be paid in the millions,” he said.

“In some ways, Gen Dunford’s salary is surprisingly modest given the scale of his responsibilities,” he added.

An MoD spokesman said the comparison in salary does not explain the full picture, given other elements of remuneration.

“Comparing pre-tax pay between the UK and US militaries is misleading, as the US has significant differences in other aspects of the total remuneration packages,” the spokesman told The National.