A UK soldier has been sacked just 72 hours before he was due to qualify for a full Army pension.
Sergeant Lee Nolan, an Iraq war veteran, is set to miss out on more than £100,000 ($160,000) after he lost his job in brutal cuts to the UK’s Army. The latest rounds of cuts have seen 20,000 UK soldiers laid off.
Nolan was so incensed about the decision that he sent his six military medals (pictured below) to British Prime Minister David Cameron.
As well as losing his job, Nolan has had to forfeit his Army home and financial security, despite spending almost two decades risking his life for his country. In a letter addressed to Cameron, Nolan wrote:
“The events of the past 12 months have turned my life on its head and sullied my near-18 years of loyal and exemplary service to my country. The medals I have enclosed would only serve to remind me of the shocking way I have been treated.”
Sgt Nolan was awarded a redundancy payout of £93,000 ($149,000), and will receive a pension of £5,000 ($8,000) when he reaches 60. Those figures would increase considerably had he been laid off just three days later: in that scenario, the soldier would have received payment of £188,500 ($302,000), made up of a £76,000 lump sum plus £6,250 a year until he was 60.
Nolan is not alone in just missing out on his full Army pension. In the same wave of cuts, at least 80 soldiers, sailors and aircrew who were less than a year away from qualifying for full pension were made redundant. However, Sgt Nolan was closer to his pension than any of them.
Some of those sacked claim that were deliberately selected for redundancy to save the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) millions of pounds. The MoD denies such claims, though there is little doubt that the sackings save money – campaign group Pensions Justice for Troops says redundant personnel will lose out on at least £40m between them.
As for Nolan’s letter to David Cameron, the former soldier received a reply dated a month ago promising further feedback. He has heard nothing since.