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Armed Forces: Compensation Scheme

Volume 713: debated on Thursday 22 October 2009

Statement

My honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans (Kevan Jones) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Ministry of Defence is entering the next stage of the review of the Armed Forces compensation scheme that was brought forward from 2010, as announced by the Defence Secretary in July of this year.

The terms of reference for the review are as follows:

to examine whether the fundamental principles of the scheme remain valid;

to evaluate how successfully the scheme in its current form gives effect to these principles; and

having regard to fairness, feasibility, sustainability and ease of administration, to make recommendations on any modifications that are required to ensure that the scheme is fit for purpose.

The review will be undertaken by the Ministry of Defence under the leadership of an independent chairman, Admiral the Lord Boyce, who will determine the review recommendations. It will report to the Defence Secretary and be published by him, with an indication of the steps which he intends to take as a result of the review.

An independent scrutiny group has been established with representatives of service and ex-service organisations, service families’ representatives, and medical, academic and legal experts, from whom the independent chairman and the department will take advice as the review progresses. It has already held its first meeting.

The aim is for the review to report within a few months.

The review will look at a range of issues including (but not limited to):

the fundamental principles underlying the compensation scheme;

the overall level of compensation, including for dependants;

what the compensation is for and its relationship with other state benefits;

comparisons with other compensation in the UK and internationally;

issues raised by the court of appeal judgment;

the circumstances of injury, illness or death;

the claims and adjudication process;

the burden and onus of proof;

the time limit on claims and the treatment of deterioration;

the compensation paid for mental illness; and

the compensation paid to individuals with multiple injuries.

The membership of the review’s independent scrutiny group is as follows:

Admiral the Lord Boyce GCB OBE DL

Former Chief of the Defence Staff

Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, KCVO OBE DL

Controller, Army Benevolent Fund

Jerome Church

General Secretary, BLESMA

Chris Simpkins

Director General, Royal British Legion

David Richmond

AFCS Beneficiary

Kim Richardson

Chair of the Navy Families Federation

Gill Grigg MBE

Chair of War Widows Association of Great Britain

Professor David Bonner

Professor of Law, University of Leicester

Simon Levene

Barrister

Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor, CBE FMedsci

Deputy Principal of the Faculty of Medicine, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Imperial College, Consultant Physician at Royal Brompton Hospital

Dr David Snashall, MSc FRCP FFOM LLM

Clinical Director and Senior Lecturer in the Occupational Health Department at St Thomas’s Hospital

Professor David Alexander, MA (Hons) C.Psychol PhD FBPS FRSM (Hon) FRCPSych

Director of the Aberdeen Centre for Trauma Research and Professor of Mental Health in the Faculty of Health and Social Care