Ministry of Defence performance pay nears £40m

British soldiers in Afghanistan
Image caption The chief executive of Defence Support Group received £84,000 in performance pay

Ministry of Defence officials have received £39.7m in performance-related pay in the six months to October 2010, documents show.

The figures were released to the Daily Mail after a Freedom of Information request.

An MoD spokesman said the full amount for the financial year would be broadly comparable with last year's £44.2m, with most staff's PRP already paid.

Defence spending is to fall by 8% as part of the strategic defence review.

Under the review announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last year, 42,000 Ministry of Defence and armed forces jobs will be cut by 2015, and defence spending will fall by 8% over four years.

The Daily Mail reported that in the 2009-10 financial year, £44.2m was paid to civilian staff for their job performance.

The chief executive of the Defence Support Group, Archie Hughes, received £84,000 in performance pay in the year to April 2010. DSG is responsible for military equipment in Afghanistan.

Other large awards of £75,000, £72,540 and £55,350 were paid to unnamed senior civil servants, the paper reported.

'Not bonuses'

In the first half of the 2010-2011 financial year, senior officials shared £2.7m, averaging £8,000 each.

The MoD said: "These are not bonuses, but a proportion of overall salary which is linked to performance. These awards are non-pensionable and have to be earned each year.

"In 2009-10, the average award, which is taxable, was £677. More than half of all MoD civil servants earn less than £20,000 a year. All public servants are subject to the pay freeze."

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army officer, told the Daily Mail: "Our armed forces get no bonuses whatsoever when they go away to fight. It makes me wonder if we've got our priorities right.

"Civil servants don't face bombs and bullets. Our soldiers, sailors and airmen are the ones who should be receiving these payments, not the bureaucrats."

However, the MoD said personnel on tour received an operational allowance of £5,400 for six months, and long-separation allowances, among other payments.

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