On 13 June this year, my husband, Sergeant Michael Anderson, was told he is to be made redundant just three days before qualifying for his military pension. This means Michael will lose almost half of his promised pension.
Michael has been a soldier from the age of 16. He was serving in Northern Ireland at 18, and at 19 was posted to Bosnia followed by a tour in Iraq in 2004. He is now a Welfare Officer and has had the difficult task of supporting families of soldiers killed in action and the severely physically and mentally injured.
Our family, like all service families, accept and have dealt with the highs and lows of army life. We have been honoured to be part of the army family and would very much like to continue to be part of it. Our second child was born when Michael was serving in Iraq. The proudest moment for me was handing Michael his newborn son when he came home. As you can imagine, a very difficult yet joyful time for us both.
Having put duty before family on so many occasions, I cannot now see why the loyalty and commitment we have shown is not being reciprocated by this Government.
When Michael was informed of his redundancy I felt like my heart had been ripped out, more for Michael than me. Everything he knew and had worked for from the age of 16 taken away. We had planned on using the pension to secure a mortgage when we left army accommodation and to support our young family while Michael established a new career on civvy street. After a life of service for our country our family's financial security has now been cruelly snatched away from us.
The military pension is the key financial promise on which service personnel are recruited, retained and promoted. Calling it a "pension" is really not correct, it is more akin to a resettlement payment. It exists to assist service personnel transit with dignity to civilian life and is a promise around which all army families plan their financial futures.
David Cameron has made commitments to men like my husband as part of the Military Covenant. He said "that those willing to lay down their lives for the country have a right to expect they will be dealt with properly." But the treatment of my husband, and others in similar situations show the promises the Government made to our military are being forgotten.
Redundancies sometimes need to be made but I believe soldiers who are a few months, or in Michael's case, days from achieving their pension should be given redundancy payouts that reflect such dramatic pension losses, pensions they have always been led to expect and rely on when leaving the services.
Please sign the petition below and help get a fair outcome for Michael and my family. Help safeguard the Military Pension for all soldiers today and those signing up tomorrow.
- Prime Minster of the United Kingdom
Rt Hon David Cameron MP
We appeal to you to allow Sergeant Michael Anderson, a soldier from the age of 16, to serve the extra three days or longer to his 22 year end of engagement date, or compensate him fully and fairly for the loss of his promised pension.
Mr Cameron please to "do the right thing" by this loyal and committed soldier and honour the spirit of the Covenant or stand accused of using a legal loophole to cheat a loyal serviceman of his "just rewards."
Promises made to servicemen and women when they sign up should be promises kept.
Jolene Anderson started this petition with a single signature, and won with 103,463 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.