Select Committee on Defence First Special Report


Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence concerning review of compensation arrangements (2 December 1999)

  In your letter of 21 October, you asked for an update on the progress of the review of compensation arrangements, which you noted was running behind schedule. A previous Minister (Armed Forces), Dr John Reid, announced the review of compensation arrangements in December 1997. This joint review with DSS was in response, amongst other things, to the HCDC Sixth Report 1996-97, "Gulf War Illnesses: The Latest Developments".

  The review has examined from first principles the way in which service men and women and their dependants are compensated when they suffer illness, injury or death due to service. The work has proved to be very complex. The existing arrangements are administered by two Departments, under powers derived from several different Acts, some of them dating to the last century, and from the Royal Prerogative. The Ministry of Defence needs to approach the issue of changing the schemes with great care. It has also taken more time than expected to assess the expenditure implications of the proposals being developed.

  The contribution of our servicemen and women, as demonstrated recently in Kosovo, is greatly valued. It is vital that we find the right sort of package which will give these people and their dependants the reassurance that they will be provided for when facing the challenges and risks associated with service life, even if this means more work and further delays. It is more important to produce the right answer than to produce the answer quickly.

  It is hoped that a consultation document will be published early next year, and Ministers will be informing both Houses of the situation shortly.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 5 February 2001