Veterans who are injured as a result of their service before 6 April 2005 can apply for compensation in the form of a war pension. For those whose disablement affects their ability to work, additional provision may be made in the form of supplementary allowances, paid in addition to the war pension.
Absolutely. As the hon. Member for Scunthorpe (Nic Dakin) will know, the courts have now decided in favour of the Government. I pay tribute to those who took part in the tests many years ago, but it was about 60-odd years ago and I am afraid that the courts have found that there is no causal link whatever between many of the disabilities and illnesses suffered and exposure to any radiation.
Will the Minister expand a little on his reply in respect of the long-term help that veterans will receive. He has referred to the short-term help, but many of the injured veteran personnel in my Devizes constituency are concerned about where the support will be in 20 or 25 years’ time.
My hon. Friend raises a very important issue. Injured personnel have a high profile and the support of the country at the moment, but in 15, 20 or 30 years’ time, it might be rather different. We are putting in place a whole raft of initiatives. I pay tribute to the last Government, who put a lot of it together. We supported the personnel recovery centre, among others, and there will be such a centre in Tidworth. God willing, we look forward to opening it in the near future.
This is not actually an MOD but a Department of Health measure. As I understand it, the whole mental health package is worth £400 million and it will be announced in April. Some part of it will go towards assistance with mental health problems among members of the armed forces. We already provide a great deal of support to those with mental health problems, not least through the “Fighting Fit” report of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison).