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War Pensions

Volume 407: debated on Monday 23 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the savings to public funds that would flow from his proposed change to the burden of proof for the war pensions scheme. [120005]

If Ministers were to accept the proposals arising from the reviews, it is expected that the new scheme would be broadly cost-neutral. However, there would be a better focus of resources on the more severely disabled whose earning capacity had been significantly affected. Those whose conditions were not expected to affect significantly their earnings capacity would receive a lump sum payment rather than a pension, but their cases would be reviewed if, exceptionally, there was a significant and unexpected level of deterioration that affected this judgment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what kinds of illnesses, at present accepted under the burden of proof for the war pensions scheme, would cease to be accepted under his proposed changes; and if he will make a statement. [120012]

The proposals arising from the reviews of the Armed Forces Pension and Compensation arrangements are currently under consideration by Ministers. Illnesses or injuries would only fail to be accepted under the new scheme proposals where, on a balance of probabilities standard of proof, they were considered not to be caused or significantly aggravated by Service. The Department's decisions on claims would be subject to appeal to an independent tribunal.