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Service Personnel: Welfare

Volume 454: debated on Monday 11 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to improve the welfare package for injured service personnel. (105395)

I have taken your question to mean service personnel injured while on operations.

Among many measures in hand, we recently announced, at Selly Oak, additional allowances for service in-patients, including incidental expenditure allowance worth up to £10 per day and separated service allowances worth up to £12 per day. All hospitalised operational casualties wounded in one of the three qualifying theatres will continue to receive the new tax-free operational allowance.

Travel and subsistence payments have been extended to the wider families of hospitalised service personnel and we have also extended home units' eligibility to claim families' support money to include the duration that an operational casualty is an in-patient.

Paid acting rank will be retained for the duration of time spent as an in-patient, on a case-by-case basis, where an operational casualty has been granted such rank for an operation.

We have provided broadband internet connections in Alexandra Wing, Royal College of Defence Medicine (RCDM) and included service in-patients in the operational welfare package Christmas free postal packet scheme.

Alexandra Wing at the RCDM in Birmingham has undergone a £50,000 refurbishment, and a three-bedroom hospital campus welfare flat is now available for use by families with children.

Operational Christmas boxes will be distributed by the Defence Medical Welfare Service to all service in-patients hospitalised over Christmas.