Skip to main content

Service Personnel (Gulf)

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 1 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been put in place to provide support to families of armed forces personnel who have been killed or injured serving in the Gulf; and if he will make a statement. [110418]

The Service authorities take very seriously the need to ensure adequate welfare support for personnel and their families and have well-established procedures in place to cater for instances of injury or death.Where Service personnel are, for whatever reason, classified as very seriously ill or seriously ill, up to two family members will be eligible to visit them at public expense for up to seven days, extendable to 10 days on medical advice. Unit Welfare Officers will assist families as the need to do so arises.Following a death, be it through natural causes, as a direct result of peacetime Service, e.g. an accident, or on the battlefield, the Services have detailed guidelines for Commanding Officers on the procedures to be implemented. In the first instance, the next of kin or other nominated person will be advised of the death through a visit by an officer from the deceased's unit. Following initial notification, an officer is appointed to assist the family in the ensuing days and months and will do so through emotional or administrative support, including matters relating to housing and finance. This support will continue for as long as necessary according to individual circumstance and needs.Where families are housed in Service Family Accommodation (SFA), bereaved families can retain their SFA for as long as they feel they need in order to assess their longer term housing requirements.Financial support is provided in accordance with the terms of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme and the War Pension Scheme, as detailed in my answer of 3 April 2003,

Official Report, columns 781–82W to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms Walley). I also explained that, where a Service person dies as a result of Service related to conflict, ex-gratia payments equivalent to benefits paid to a

surviving spouse under the AFPS may be awarded to their unmarried partner where there is a substantial relationship.