Compensation for seriously injured armed forces personnel
The Government has announced a new package of welfare measures for British troops seriously injured in operations which includes a commitment to double compensation payments.
Compensation for seriously injured UK armed forces personnel will be increased from £285,000 to £570,000, while servicemen and women who suffer less serious injuries during conflicts will receive an increase of up to 80%.
The measures form part of the Service Personnel Command Paper, which will address serious long-standing concerns within the military. Some of the main concerns relate to family issues, including access to school places, NHS doctors and dentists for families who currently find themselves at a disadvantage because of the need for frequent moves as they transfer from posting to posting.
The welfare package is seen by military chiefs as crucial to building up manning levels across the three services by improving retention rates. It follows an internal MoD survey which found that 47% of soldiers in the Army - and almost as many personnel in the RAF - regularly considered quitting.
The paper, which is being published by the Ministry of Defence, is designed to improve the lives of those serving in the military, their families and veterans.
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Andrew Buckham from law firm Irwin Mitchell who is representing Lance-Bombardier Ben Parkinson of the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, who was seriously injured when a mine exploded whilst he was on patrol in Helmand Province in Afghanistan, said:
"Whilst we welcome the increase in the lump sum payment outlined by Des Browne today we remain disappointed that there continues to be a cap on the amount of compensation service personnel can claim.
"To cap this lump sum payment will inevitably mean that the most seriously injured, including Lance-Bombardier Ben Parkinson, will still not receive the full compensation they need to ensure their life-long care needs are met.
"We will therefore continue to campaign for improved compensation for severely injured members of the Armed Forces by asking the Government to consider a more appropriate way to assess the individual long term needs of severely injured service personnel, particularly those with brain and spinal injuries."