The Cost of a Para

The MoD publish all the Freedom of Information requests they receive and often they reveal interesting things.

In response to a recent Freedom of Information Request about the costs of a Parachute Regiment soldier

The capitation rate for a member of the Parachute Regiment in Financial Year 2014/15 is £43,168. This includes Pensionable and non-Pensionable Pay, Earnings-Related National Insurance Contributions (ERNIC) and Superannuation Charges Adjusted for Past Experience (SCAPE).

Not sure how that is worked out with regards to rank and trade pay but there you go.

Also worth noting, it should be value not cost!

13 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
wf
wf
June 28, 2014 8:23 am

Would be great to see similar costs for light role, armoured and mechanized infantry :-)

Chris
Chris
June 28, 2014 8:57 am

TD – ref value not cost – there is a saying; to know the cost of all things and the value of none. The MOD has long since become fixated on budgets and accounting (still didn’t prevent massive overspends) so I am sure they could list the cost per year of every rank of every trade in the forces without having a blind clue as to the need for or contribution of any of them.

I am equally certain the same applies to technicalities – the level of bid compliance will be known to thousandths of a percent, but I really doubt any of the decision makers would be able to say in simple English what the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed solutions might be. If such judgement were possible why on earth invent such a complex scoring system to create numerical ‘goodness’ scores at the end?

I was asked at DVD why the wheeled vehicles were all huge compared to the vehicles they were intended to replace. I went through the list (as I have done here before) of mobility standards, human factors standards, protection level expectations, stowage needs, etc that all drive weight and size up. The questioner suggested the result was far from ideal and asked if a better solution wouldn’t be possible if the Standards were not met so rigorously. I agreed better balance and operational effectiveness might be achieved but the requirement system would score such a design down as inadequately compliant to the Standards. The questioner thought that was a stupid approach to getting useful equipment.

Martin
Editor
June 28, 2014 11:39 am

@ Chris – only the military could make buying big green metal boxes on wheels so difficult :-)

Its like when I take my five yer old nephew to Toys R Us and tell him he can have any toy but only one and he spends all day trying to decide before buying soemthing he does not like the minute he gets it home.

x
x
June 28, 2014 11:40 am

How much does an MP cost? Seeing as there is about a battalion’s worth of them let’s see how many soldiers we could get……….

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
June 28, 2014 11:49 am

Wf, the answer would be the same. It is the capitation rate they reference. No equipment costs are calculated, nor training costs.

It is also not a really useful calculation to even try to break out costs for different types of infantry (or against other arms or services). That way of accounting might lead to decisions like “we’ll have four battalions of paras because they are cheaper than four battalions of armoured infantry”, because the next time that HMtQ’s enemy needs a bayonet applying to his stomach, he might be in a place where the most effective answer is to drive on top of his trench in a Warrior, debus and give him the good news. Not parachute or helicopter in 10 miles away and walk slowly towards him.

wf
wf
June 28, 2014 12:57 pm

@RT: pity. It actually would be good to see training costs included on a capitation basis, but as you say, equipment needs to be separate.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
June 28, 2014 1:42 pm

Wf,

I don’t see why it would be useful on a per head basis.

The costs of training need to be captured in order to budget, but that is all. To apply them to force structures makes little sense, and in fact is dangerous as it introduces a false notion of cost effectiveness. So what if a para costs tuppence and a single Kevin flying a Typhoon costs squillions? You need them for different things. 50,000 paras defending the cliffs of England are not going to provide an effective deterrent to Russian aircraft flying down the North Sea, nor is a Typhoon going to be very useful at seizing and holding an airfield.

Deciding what to achieve is the first step. Then you structure your forces to achieve it, and set the budget accordingly.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 28, 2014 2:27 pm

@ Thread – My experience of these sorts of “objective” decision making processes suggests that the reasons for them are a mortal corporate and sometimes individual terror of being accused of improper conduct by:

> The diligent bureaucratic guardians of European or UK public procurement rules.
> Ditto, but with shiny brass buttons if the taxpayers money being spent was originally given to you by them under some special programme or another.
> Contractors in various fields who employ more lawyers than workers in the hope of proving they were “unfairly” deprived of some juicy contract, and deserve to be handsomely compensated from the public purse.
> Politicians hoping to avoid responsibility for some action or another by blaming somebody else.
> Journalists emerging from the pub, opium den or boy-brothel for fifteen minutes to concoct a front-page splash about the wicked and corrupt stupidity of a hard-working public servant of unblemished character.

As in each case the accusers are paid a great deal of money and judged (by themselves) to be of inestimable public worth, but never have to risk either their salary or self-regard by actually making a real decision about anything…and since there are certain sorts of persons who value such jobs above all others (mostly would-be accountants, politicians and journalists)…and having secured those jobs they use them to sit in judgement on what everybody else does without ever risking doing anything useful themselves…I see no likelihood of any early improvement… :-(

GNB

Chris
Chris
June 28, 2014 7:48 pm

Gloomy – have just promoted you to Witchfinder General of The Civil Service in my future government – a job I can see you will undertake with great diligence and zeal…

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 28, 2014 8:06 pm

– I look forward to my letter of appointment…I can provide my own black hat,cloak and faggots…but I might need to indent for a mortuary sword for the duration… :-)

GNB

monkey
monkey
June 28, 2014 8:32 pm

@GNB
I see at least the burnings will at least be ‘Green’ (using from FSC approved sources only) or may I suggest the Drax power station so at least some use might come from it :-)

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
June 28, 2014 8:50 pm

@Monkey – Naturally – wouldn’t do to breach the Kyoto protocols would it?

GNB

Midlander
Midlander
June 29, 2014 3:13 pm

Agree with the views of what these figures are for, but how about thinking how to drive them down
For example
Isnt counting income tax a paper cost for a soldier? Thats 20% off.
Why isnt equipment be procured at scale on longer production rund on a NATO basis instead of batch and low rate production for indvidual UK orders , to knock another 30% easy.
What about common NATO training facilities and infrastructure, the duplication in NATO Europe is pretty mindblowing and it all costs money.
There, we can double the para and marine numbers for the same cost by thinking how to improve these numbers not argue about them.
Sounds simplistic and probably is, but we are using more energy to argue silly cap badge battles rather than getting more efficient by using scaling and pooling inside a ready NATO structure.
Come on MOD and Westminster get your act together……