By Paul Irving
SOLDIERS from Manchester have this week said the controversy over army equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t reflect the reality.
This debate has raged throughout these campaigns and was front page news again during Gordon Brown’s appearance at the Chilcot Inquiry.
Rob Hall, 23, from Crumpsall, serving with the Duke of Lancaster’s, is certain none of his regiment ever saw shortages.
He said: “We had the tools and equipment to do the job we were tasked with.
“In fact sometimes the biggest effect on your morale was being mocked by other soldiers for buying some new bit of kit.”
He blamed politicians from all sides for playing politics with the issue.
He said: “I think instead of arguing over what to use and how to use it, the politicians should ensure the funding is there when needed and not get involved any further.”
Mark Harris at Mac’s Army and Navy Store in the city centre confirmed they sell equipment to lots of soldiers.
But he also stressed they get other professionals, such as the police, buying their own equipment aswell.
It is often claimed low paid soldiers can ill-afford expensive equipment.
A regional spokesman for the British Army however suggested there are many financial benefits to being a soldier.
“Peppercorn rent, cheap food and better paid roles for those with skills are all often overlooked,” he said.
The spokesman also said army equipment is of a high standard and given to all soldiers but it is very difficult to account for personal preference.
The size of the task facing the army in Afghanistan was starkly illustrated in February when the British death toll overtook that of the Falklands War.