26 Oct 2011

Dead soldier’s pay reclaim ‘disgusting’

The family of a soldier killed in Afghanistan have told Channel 4 News that an MoD decision to claw back overpaid money from him is ‘disgusting’.

Lancashire soldier Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft, who has been described as an “outstanding soldier”, was shot dead by insurgents in Helmand Province just over a year ago.

His parents have now received a letter from the Ministry of Defence. It was hand delivered. But his father says the contents couldn’t have been more insensitive.

It asked for £433 from the holiday pay he’d earned because he died ten days before the end of the month for which he’d been paid.

Jordan’s father Tony said it was both shocking and deeply insulting.

“They don’t know how devastating it is to lose a son, never mind one that was fighting to put the great back into great Britain. I can’t really find words for how disgusted I am,” he said.

Today the Ministry of Defence apologised for any distress it had caused the family, but didn’t apologise for what it called – “the rules”.

It said it never asks families to pay money back. But if there is an overpayment of salary and further payments are due to an estate, adjustments are made – and it says clear rules means the system’s fair to everyone.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed this isn’t the only case where money owed to someone killed in action is “adjusted”.

But Tony Bancroft says it isn’t about the money, but a lack of respect in beaurocratic talk of ‘offsetting’ and ‘overpayment’…and a Whitehall apology doesn’t make up for the offence.