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Death Compensation

Volume 163: debated on Monday 4 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what considerations underlie the decision on the amount of compensation payable (a) in respect of the death of a llama, attributable to a low flying incident, and (b) to the family of a single soldier murdered by the IRA; and if he will take immediate steps to introduce a scheme to provide minimum compensation equivalent to at least one year's salary in the case of services personnel killed in the course of their duty;(2) what has been the average compensation paid by Her Majesty's Government to the families of single service personnel murdered in the course of their duty by the Irish Republican Army in each of the past five years for which figures are available.

The amount of compensation paid by my Department recently in respect of the death of a llama was based on substantial evidence provided by the claimant and verified by professional advisers in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. I cannot answer for claims arising from the death of single soldiers killed by the IRA in the United Kingdom, since these are considered under the criminal injury compensation schemes for Great Britain and Northern Ireland. My Department operates a corresponding scheme for service men overseas, although we have not received any claims arising from the death of single service personnel as a result of IRA attacks under this scheme. The amount of criminal injuries compensation payable to the family of a single soldier murdered by the IRA is assessed in the same way as claims for damages under common law and reflect the degree of financial dependency. I see no requirement for any additional scheme along the lines proposed.