TROOPS returning home from Hong Kong after the handover may find themselves changing rank or receiving pay increases as part of sweeping changes to the British forces as a whole. A major report on the future of Britain's military, published yesterday, recommended changes in pay and conditions of service, and slashing of the rank structure with around half the rank titles disappearing. Every member of the British forces will receive a summary of the proposals and Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind said yesterday he wanted feedback from servicemen and women over the next few months. 'It is in the light of their comments and the analysis by the chiefs of staff that we will then come to a judgment as to whether these recommendations are sensible or need to be amended or changed,' he said. In Hong Kong, joint services public relations staff director Roger Goodwin said the Garrison would review the report and relay its comments to London. 'People will want to consider [the implications]. Ranks in the British Army have not been in existence by accident. 'They are based on 300 years of tried and tested service,' he said. The proposals would have little effect on the Hong Kong Garrison because they would not be introduced before the handover in 1997. The highly contentious report drawn up by Michael Bett, a former deputy chairman of British Telecom, is aimed at developing a service structure suitable for the 21st century. If accepted it would mean field marshals and generals would merge as one rank along with lieutenant-general and major-general and brigadier and colonel. Staff sergeant and sergeant would merge as would corporal and lance corporal.