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Forces lose out in pay blunder.

TENS of thousands of military personnel have been left out of pocket by bungled salary payments.

More than 50,000 Armed Forces pay packets were short last year - some by hundreds of pounds in a single month.

Thousands more members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force were forced to reimburse the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after almost 20,000 overpayments.

The confusion was put down to a series of failings in the operation of a new administration system - which is not used for MoD officials.

Opposition parties accused the MoD of "incompetence" while servicemen and women were putting their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey said: "Day in, day out our armed forces risk life and limb for their country.

"Surely the least Whitehall can do is ensure that their pay is administered in a competent manner."

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said: "Forces personnel have enough to worry about as it is without having to check the MoD is paying them correctly.

"The contrast between the professionalism of our troops and the incompetence of the MoD grows by the day."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 24, 2008
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