The year of the Forces Pension Society’s launch in 1946 was a pretty remarkable one.
Landmark legislation paved the way for the NHS, the basic state pension and the creation of new towns, the Bank of England was nationalised, London Heathrow opened for civilian and international flights, driving tests resumed, and Derby County beat Charlton Athletic 4–1 in the FA Cup.
Here’s a pension snapshot of those ‘heady’ post-war days.
Armed Forces Personnel
1.93 million was the figure for the number of embodied Forces personnel in 1946 – 1.129 million Army, 439,000 RAF, and 371,000 Royal Navy In January 2021, the trained Regular strength of all three Services was 135,000 – 76,000 Army, 31,000 RAF and 28,000 Royal Navy.
Armed Forces Pensions
The yearly Armed Forces pension collected by an Army Captain in 1946 who had served a full 16-year career (there was no pension progression for extra years served then) was £375. Higher up the ranks, a Colonel with 26 years’ service was paid £825 a year, and a Brigadier with 28 years’ service £900.
The weekly state pension for a single person In 1946 was £1, 6s, those who retired did so on a pay code established in 1919, which in 1935 had been cut by 9.5%. The National Insurance Act 1946 ushered in the basic state pension from 1948, using a universal contributory scheme. It paid a pension of £1 6s for a single person and £2 2s for a married couple per week (around £30 and £48 in today’s money) to men aged 65 and women aged 60, funded by National Insurance contributions. For 2021/22, the full state pension rate is £179.60. The state pension age is gradually increasing for men and women and will reach 67 by 2028.
And did you know…?
Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s salary under the Ministers of the Crown Act 1937 In the 2020-21 financial year, Boris Johnson will receive £81,932 for being an MP and is entitled to an additional £79,469 for his role as PM