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Fire Brigades (Substitution)

Volume 939: debated on Friday 18 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what will be the basis for assessing compensation payable to Service men injured in fighting fires and payable to the next of kin of those killed while carrying out this duty.

All members of the Armed Forces who are injured in the course of their duty to the extent that they are no longer fit for service are entitled to "attributable" rates of pension under the occupational pension scheme administered by my Department. The widows and children of those who are killed on duty are also eligible for "attributable" pensions. In addition, Service men, widows and children may expect to benefit under the War Pensions Scheme of the Department of Health and Social Security. The "attributable" pensions under both schemes are related to rank but not to length of service.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether a period of extra leave, or some other practical expression of the public's gratitude, will be given to those Service men who have undertaken fire-fighting duties during the national firemen's strike.

The fire-fighting duties undertaken by the Armed Forces are part of their normal responsibility to assist in the maintenance of essential services. I have no plans for any specific award in the present circumstances, but I am grateful to the hon. Member for drawing attention to the appreciation the general public feels for the good work the Services have done in the past and are doing now.