Select Committee on Defence Third Report



A tariff-based system for compensation for pain and suffering

98. The consultation document proposes a tariff-based lump sum payment to compensate for pain and suffering, along the lines of the Criminal Injuries Compensation (CIC) scheme, with awards banded at 15 levels. An illustrative tariff showing possible levels of payment is set out as an annex to the consultation document with payments ranging from 250,000 for conditions such as 'very severe brain/spinal cord injury', down to 1,000 for 'minor permanent scarring of the face' and rib fractures.[169]

99. The Royal British Legion is opposed to a tariff system but also considers that the proposed levels are too low.[170] One of its concerns is that linking the payment bands in some way to a civilian compensation system such as the CIC scheme does not give appropriate recognition to the different status of the Armed Forces.[171] BLESMA go further in saying that it is fundamentally wrong to put injuries received in military action on a par with those suffered in criminal assaults.[172] Combat Stress believes that, particularly for those with psychological conditions, current medical understanding lacks the precision necessary for a tariff-based approach.[173] Hodge Jones & Allen, a firm of solicitors which acts for many Gulf War veterans, believes that the proposed tariffs are 'too few and too simplistic'.[174]

100. The MoD memorandum says that the aim of the new system is simplicity for claimants. It has made clear that the published tariff 'is exemplary and for discussion' and that the CIC tariffs were not the model for the specific levels of payment in the Armed Forces scheme: the Judicial Studies Board (JSB) Guidelines for the assessment of general damages in personal injury civil cases were used in drawing up the tariff. Since the Review document was produced, both the CIC tariff and the JSB Guidelines have been revised and the MoD says that these changes will be taken into account in the final tariff proposals.[175]

101. A factor which has not yet been adequately dealt with, and which concerned a number of witnesses, is how a tariff system would cope with deterioration in an individual's condition. The Review document says that—

The published award levels would be informed by medical and legal advice about the loss of amenity and extra costs incurred by each condition, taking into account the likely progress of the injury or medical condition, and the average loss of amenity over life. Average deterioration/improvement would therefore be anticipated in the tariff levels and we propose that the lump sum awards would not be eligible for review, except where further consequential medical conditions emerged ...[176]

It is this attempt to decide on an 'average' level of deterioration of a condition and the lack of opportunity for a lump sum award to be reviewed which is the focus of concern.[177] As the MoD points out, the War Pensions Scheme 'has wide gateways to review'.[178] Under the present arrangements, if a doctor carrying out an assessment for a war pension application thinks a person's condition is likely to change they are able to make an interim assessment which will be reviewed after a fixed period of time. Whether an assessment is final or interim, an individual in receipt of a war pension can apply for their assessment to be reviewed if they believe their condition has deteriorated and the review will be carried out on the basis of collecting new medical evidence.[179] In 2000-01, the War Pensions Agency received 15,615 claims for additional conditions, deterioration and reviews.[180]

102. The Director General, Service Personnel Policy told us—

We anticipate we will need to have some review arrangement, we have not yet thought that through in any detail[181]

although in subsequent written evidence, the MoD appears to have retreated somewhat from this willingness to look again at how deterioration might be handled, stating that, in line with civil courts and insurance schemes, the new compensation scheme will make full and final settlements 'with review restricted to situations where not to do so would breach natural justice'.[182] It is unacceptable that the MoD did not think through the full implications of the tariff proposals at an earlier stage. It is worse that, even at this stage, it cannot decide whether its proposals will include a review mechanism for subsequent deterioration or not. We recommend that the way in which deterioration will be treated under the new proposals should be properly examined and a fully worked-through scheme formulated, before the review decisions are published.

 

Minor injuries to serving personnel

103. At present Armed Forces personnel cannot claim, under the War Pension and Armed Forces Pension Schemes, for any injury while they are still in service. Claims can only be made under the Criminal Injuries Compensation schemes which, as previously discussed, do not apply to injuries sustained in 'war-like' activities and which, in any case, would only be available to those injured in a criminal assault. The new scheme proposes to change these arrangements so that claims can be made for any injury sustained in the course of military service, even if the service man or woman makes a full recovery and his military career is unaffected. The lower end of the tariff therefore allows for small payments of this kind; eg Level 14: 2,500 for dislocation or fracture of the wrist or jaw, with full recovery.

104. We believe caution should be exercised in introducing new provisions to compensate personnel for injuries from which they make a full recovery, and which have no lasting effect on their lives, as this might be judged to conflict with one of the objectives of the review, 'to focus on those most severely disabled'.[183] There is also a danger that this new provision might encourage Service personnel to make claims that they would not otherwise have contemplated. The MoD believes that 'the opportunities for abusing the new compensation scheme for minor injuries while still in service would be limited' because individuals making such claims will remain subject to Service discipline and scrutiny, but has undertaken to give consideration to the mechanisms which might be necessary to prevent abuse, without making it too difficult for those with genuine cases to proceed.[184] We expect to see the details of these mechanisms set out in the MoD's final proposals. Until then we remain to be convinced that this proposal should be part of the new arrangements.

Guaranteed Income Stream

105. Personnel who are severely disabled by injuries or illness sustained during their military service, and who therefore fall within levels 1-11 of the proposed Triple A tariff, will receive a sum to cover potential loss of earnings, in addition to the lump sum for pain and suffering from the tariff system. This will also be calculated as a lump sum but will be paid in instalments, as a guaranteed income stream (GIS). The proposal to pay the loss of earnings component of compensation as an income stream, rather than as a lump sum, has been welcomed by the Royal British Legion and other organisations who represent veterans. Experience in the past has shown that individuals are not always able to cope with handling large sums of money in a way that ensures they are provided for in the long term, and the ex-Service charities are then frequently called upon to fill the breach. A particular example of this followed the Falklands War.[185] The MoD accepts that there are problems for claimants in managing large lump sums. [186] We are pleased that this has been recognised in the proposal for dealing with loss of earnings through a guaranteed income stream rather than a one-off payment.

106. Several witnesses made the point that it was impossible for them properly to assess the proposal for a guaranteed income stream on the basis of the Review document because no formula for calculating it was provided.[187] The document simply says that: 'Our economists and statisticians have designed a formula which they believe will provide a reasonable approximation for lifetime earnings (taking into account normal promotion and career patterns)'.[188] In response to our request, the MoD provided us with an explanation of the basis for the calculation and the formula to be used.[189]

107. The crucial point of course is how much an individual receives and it is difficult directly to compare the new arrangements with war pensions because, despite the MoD's intention that the new system should be simple to understand, the examples which they have provided show that calculating what a serviceman or woman and their dependants would receive remains complex.[190] From the point of view of the recipient, it is difficult to see any difference in paying the sum to cover loss of earnings as a guaranteed income stream, rather than a war pension. As the Royal British Legion said: 'A war pension is a guaranteed income stream'.[191] The MoD agreed that—

From the point of view of the individual it makes little difference. He will get the amount monthly, as it may be, and that is the key issue.[192]

108. One consequence of the proposed GIS formula is that relating awards to the salary in payment at the time of invaliding will introduce a marked differentiation by rank, since pay and rank are closely related. On this basis, it would be possible for a junior rank to be awarded a lower rate of GIS than that awarded to a senior rank who is less seriously disabled. This does not happen at present since there is no significant differentiation by rank in the existing war pension structure.

109. What remains unclear is the extent to which GIS payments will be reduced to take account of other forms of income, including from the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. The Review document says that the 'lump sum equivalent of the invaliding pension would be deducted from the lump sum for lost earnings capacity, leaving the invaliding pension to be paid as a continuing pension.'[193] We believe that this method of offsetting sums received from one scheme against those received from another will be obscure to claimants and will provide scope for anomalies and discrepancies. It may therefore make the MoD open to the possibility of legal challenge, if an individual disagrees with the way their GIS has been calculated. This does not happen under the war pension benefit structure, which has published rates of pensions directly related to the level of disablement, offering clarity and certainty to the claimant. We are not convinced that the proposed new arrangements for paying compensation for loss of earnings through a guaranteed income stream offer any advantage to injured or sick Service personnel, compared to the present War Pensions Scheme.

 

Processing claims

 

110. The Review document says that the aim of the new compensation scheme would be that 'decisions on claims should in most cases be taken within a few weeks of submission'.[194] We asked the MoD what evaluation had been carried out to assess the time which was likely to be necessary to process claims. In response, the MoD told us that—

As the scheme has not been finalised, no detailed work on administrative arrangements has been undertaken but some informal work between MoD and the then DSS concluded that this timeframe seemed a reasonable assumption ... When the new compensation scheme is approved for introduction, the Department would expect to conduct a detailed evaluation of how claims will be processed.'[195]

 

It seems odd that the MoD feels able to predict how long it will take to process claims before it has decided what the final structure of the new scheme will be. We asked for information on the average length of time which it currently takes for war pension claims to be processed.

Table 4

Period for processing first claims for War Disablement Pensions

April 2001-February 2002

 

No. of weeks

No. of cases cleared

4

243

8

767

12

1,162

16

1,051

20

1,032

24

1,119

28

1,172

32

785

36

641

40

494

over 40

1,862

Source: Ev 116

Of the 10,328 cases cleared in this period, 1,010 were cleared within eight weeks: only 9.8 per cent.

111. The Royal British Legion has considerable experience of claims dealt with under the present system and told us that currently claims can take anything from 6 weeks for a straightforward case, up to a year for a complex claim. Complex cases would usually involve conditions which take some time to develop, including psychiatric illnesses.[196] We explored in oral evidence with the MoD the basis for its optimism about the speed with which claims could be processed. The Director General, Service Personnel Policy told us—

Probably the single largest cause of delay is the need to obtain medical records and consider them individually. The reasons that we think we can improve on existing arrangements are fundamentally because a tariff scheme is clearly easier to administer and quicker to administer than one based on individual assessments. It is essentially a quicker process to decide which particular level of tariff it should be than a report which goes in detail into each condition. The second element that makes us we believe we can do better is because the Department's efficiency experts have been looking at the process and have suggested a number of ways in which improvements can be effected and they will be implemented on the existing schemes.[197]

So the MoD is arguing that claims will be processed more quickly under the new arrangements because it is a simpler scheme, and because efficiency measures can be introduced.

112. On the first of the Director General's points, we would be very concerned if the ability to process claims more quickly arose because they were examined less rigorously. At present, once a claim has been made, WPA administrative staff will collect evidence, based on Service medical records, which is then assessed by WPA doctors. If the doctor decides that further medical evidence is necessary there is an option to request a medical examination; or request a report from the claimant's own doctor or from hospitals where the claimant has been treated. The doctor will then decide if the condition is attributable to military service, which will allow a war pension (or gratuity) to be paid. The doctor will then assess the degree of disablement, which is specified as a percentage on the basis of which a payment is awarded.[198]

113. Under the new scheme, the MoD tells us that 'decisions will be taken by non-medical specialists and the medical information on which the decision is taken will generally be available at the time the submission is made.' This was amplified in oral evidence: the case officer making a decision on a claim will not be medically qualified but will have access to medical advice if required.[199] The nature of this medical advice and who will provide it is not specified. The Director General told us that, although medical advice would be available to case officers—

Quite frankly, if you are dealing with a case of amputation there is no need to employ a doctor.[200]

We find it remarkable that the MoD official responsible for introducing a new compensation scheme believes the effect of an amputation on an individual's level of pain and suffering, likely deterioration and future ability to work can be measured in this mechanistic way and that it will not be necessary for a specific medical assessment to be carried out before an award is made. The British Limbless Ex-Serviceman's Association (BLESMA) have long experience of the particular problems experienced by amputees and feel strongly that any new system should properly address their needs.[201]

114. The Director General's comments indicate that the MoD believe that, having established a tariff system, it will be a fairly simple case of slotting a claim into one of the 15 or so tariff levels which the MoD eventually decides upon and then allocating the relevant sums of money. We find this deeply worrying. What the MoD regards as the virtue of a simplified system we see as a weakness. We agree with one of our witnesses in their view that 'streamlining should not be at the expense of fairness and justness'.[202] There are bound to be a great many variables, even in cases which superficially appear to be similar and individuals should not be penalised by a system which is not sufficiently sophisticated to address the specific circumstances of their claim.

115. The War Pensions Agency has a wealth of experience in dealing with claims for injuries and illness sustained by Service personnel and employs suitably qualified doctors to undertake the necessary assessments. The Chief Executive of the WPA believes the Agency is well placed to take on the role of delivering services under the new compensation scheme.[203] We do not believe a new system will function properly unless proper medical advice is available as an integral part of the claims process rather than as an add-on used at the discretion of medically unqualified officials. We recommend that the MoD makes full use of the extensive expertise which the War Pensions (now Veterans') Agency has, to administer any new compensation arrangements which it introduces. It should also look at the way the private sector deals with industrial injuries compensation, to assess whether there are lessons to be drawn from best practice there.

 

The costs of social care

116. The Review document says that 'the structure of the new compensation package should not be too far out of line with awards available in civil negligence claims.'[204] But the MoD later told us that: 'With regard to the level of awards, the civil and proposed Armed Forces schemes are not directly comparable'.[205] One area in which the proposals will not follow practice in civil negligence awards is in making provision for the costs of social care. The MoD view is that—

Proven negligence is always an issue in civil damages, while that is not so in the proposed scheme. The proposed scheme does not, therefore, make specific provision for medical or nursing care ... the Department was satisfied that appropriate medical management, care and rehabilitation for the overwhelming majority of disorders that will be seen in the new scheme is available under UK statute (for example National Health and social services) and that this should be the usual delivery route under the scheme.[206]

What is of concern to us is that social services care is currently provided by local authorities on a means-tested basis, which will presumably mean that medically discharged Armed Forces personnel will be required to pay at least a contribution towards such care if they require it. It seems that the State will therefore be providing financially for an injured or sick ex-Service man or woman with one hand and taking it back with the other. It also seems to conflict with the MoD's aim that fewer cases should go to court, if the only route available to individuals to ensure that financial provision is available to them for their social care requirements is to resort to a civil action.

117. In the wider context of social care, as we have indicated, a range of tax-free supplements and allowances are paid by the War Pensions Agency in addition to the basic war pension, aimed at ameliorating the disabling effects of the pensionable condition, such as unemployability, lack of mobility, or a need for care and attendance. As at the end of March 2001, there were 250,954 awards of supplementary allowances in payment, in 22 different categories.[207] The War Pensions Agency also makes available discretionary funding for remedial and rehabilitative provision, where the NHS is unable to provide this; Combat Stress, in particular, regarded this as an important benefit.[208]

118. There is no provision in the new scheme for the payment of these allowances and no explanation is provided in the Review document about what is to replace them. In written evidence, the MoD indicate that ex-Service personnel will have to claim the civilian equivalents of the current WPA allowances from the Department for Work and Pensions. It believes that access to these civilian equivalents will in fact be easier because claims will not be required to relate specifically to the disablement for which a war pension is paid. However, no direct comparisons of WPA provision with civilian equivalents is provided.[209] This appears to us to be an erosion of the special status which war pensioners currently have. We believe it is irresponsible of the MoD to propose a change of this scale without itself knowing the full implications. We would be against any attempt by the MoD to distance itself from responsibility for the health and welfare of former Service personnel who have been injured or made ill as a result of their service or to shift that responsibility on to other government departments as soon as personnel leave the forces.

 

War Pensioners' Welfare Service

119. The War Pensioners' Welfare Service (WPWS) is a discrete part of the War Pensions Agency which provides advice and practical help to War Pensioners and War Widows; those who have received a war gratuity payment; and anyone in the process of claiming a WPS pension. Assistance is provided with any welfare problem, whether or not it is directly linked to military service. Combat Stress believe the WPWS provides an excellent service to veterans and their dependants and provides a link with other agencies in the welfare field.[210] BLESMA describes it as 'an excellent nationwide service' which helps to fill the gaps in provision elsewhere in the welfare state.[211] The MoD have told us that, although the Review document does not mention a welfare service, the Department's intention has always been that 'there would be a support system for those seeking or in receipt of compensation'. It recognises the high regard in which the WPWS is held, and has confirmed that the service will continue for current War Pensioners and Widows. However, for any new arrangements, the MoD 'will need to consider the particular nature of the support required when the details of the new scheme have been finalised'.[212] Those covered by any new compensation arrangements will require the same welfare support as current War Pensioners. It would be a waste of a valuable resource not to make the services of the War Pensioners' Welfare Service available to claimants under the new scheme and we recommend that the MoD ensure that access to the WPWS is provided as part of any new arrangements.

 

Sporting injuries and home to duty travel

120. The review did not come to conclusions on whether sporting injuries and home to duty travel should be dealt with under the new scheme and specifically requests comments as part of the consultation process. It offers four options for covering sporting activities ranging from excluding all sporting injuries to including all on and off duty sporting injuries.[213] The Royal British Legion favours the option which would cover representative sport and compulsory fitness training plus other activities which the Armed Forces encourage to maintain fitness standards (option C in the Review document list).[214] As they explained in oral evidence, the War Pensions Agency already makes assessments about claims for sporting injuries on the basis of whether a serviceman or woman's commanding officer confirms that the injury was sustained on duty, and as part of a required fitness programme.[215] We agree that it is reasonable to compensate individuals for injuries sustained as part of required fitness or sporting activities, including representative sport.

121. The Royal British Legion believes home to duty travel should continue to be covered as it is under the War Pensions Scheme criteria.[216] It may seem unusual for the Armed Forces to offer this level of cover, when few other groups of employees would expect their employer to be liable for injuries they sustain when travelling to and from work. But this provision is an example of where the special status of the Armed Forces is recognised. The MoD told us—

The issue of home to duty travel is clearly a difficult one and we have not reached final conclusions yet ... we dictate to servicemen where they live. When we do that it is perhaps not unreasonable that we cover them for injuries incurred in their home to duty travel. That is the sort of consideration we have to bring to this.[217]

We recommend that Service personnel should continue to receive compensation for injuries sustained during home to duty travel, following the current practice of evaluating each case on its merits.

 

Civil negligence claims

122. Prior to 1987, Section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 prevented Service personnel suing the Crown for compensation. In that year, the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act repealed Section 10 and since then Service personnel have been able to sue the MoD for compensation for injury which they allege has resulted from the Department's negligence.[218]

123. Under these arrangements, serving and ex-Service personnel can make a claim for negligence against the MoD in the civil courts. In financial year 2000-01, the MoD received 924 employer's liability compensation claims of this kind.[219] The total paid to Service personnel in compensation (including claimants' legal costs) in each of the last 5 years, as a result of employer's liability claims, is as follows—

Table 5

Total sums paid to Service personnel in civil negligence cases

 

Financial Year

million

2001-02*

29.0

2000-2001

47.2

1999-2000

40.7

1998-1999

36.5

1997-1998

28.8

          * first 9 months only

Source: Ev 45

124. The option to sue the MoD for negligence would remain under the new proposals. However, the MoD takes the view that such cases can be 'confrontational and protracted, cause distress to claimants and result in disparate awards for the same disablement' and expresses the hope that the new arrangements will enable more cases to be settled on a no-fault basis without needing to go to court.[220] The Royal British Legion 'firmly disagree that litigation is too stressful to the individual'.[221] The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) were extremely concerned by the MoD's aim to reduce the number of court cases. Their view is that no-fault compensation is provided by the MoD to maintain morale and fulfil a moral responsibility to its employees, and it does not therefore provide full compensation but only compensation that is 'fair and reasonable under the circumstances'. Under civil actions, those negligently injured are entitled to full compensation to put them in the position they would have been had the negligence not occurred. The two systems therefore have different functions and APIL believe Service personnel should not be discouraged, 'either in principle or in practice, from pursuing the full compensation to which they may be entitled.'[222] This argument is given added force by the MoD's own statement on social care costs discussed above (see paragraphs 116-118).

125. The handling of civil negligence claims changed as a result of reforms to the Civil Procedure Rules introduced by Lord Woolf in April 1999, with the intention of making litigation less adversarial and more co-operative. One of the new measures is a personal injury pre-action protocol which requires the defendant to set out his position in respect of liability; if fault is admitted the parties can then concentrate on deciding on losses and the level of an award. If cases do proceed to litigation there is an 'overriding objective' under the protocol to deal with cases justly by, amongst other things, ensuring the parties are on an equal footing; saving expense; dealing with the case in a way that is proportionate; ensuring it is dealt with expeditiously and fairly; and allocating an appropriate share of the court's resources.

126. The MoD told us that—

These reforms had not had a chance to have much impact on the perception that civil negligence claims could be protracted and difficult at the time of the review and the consultation document was written reflecting the unreformed civil litigation process.[223]

This is despite the fact that the new arrangements had been in place for two years by the time the Review document was published. However, the MoD accepts that the handling of civil negligence cases has changed significantly as a result of the Woolf reforms. It fully complies with the Civil Procedure Rules; less than three per cent of MoD cases go to court and, where liability is not an issue, the MoD attempts to settle cases in counsel-to-counsel discussions. The MoD view is that—

This method of negotiated settlement has had a significant effect on the way claims are handled due to the claimant and defendant showing an element of goodwill combined with a realistic approach.[224]

We welcome the MoD's full compliance with the new arrangements for handling civil negligence cases and the improvements this has brought to the process, for both claimant and defendant.

127. The Director General, Service Personnel Policy assured us—

There is no way in which this scheme will stand in the way of individuals who wish to take action against the Government for negligence. That avenue will be open.[225]

However, the MoD maintains that: 'it is still true that there are disparate awards made for similar disablements in civil litigation' because awards take account of the value of lost earnings, the age of the claimant and factors which are unique to the case.[226] The MoD appears to regard this as a negative feature.

128. We would be concerned by any potential for vexatious civil negligence claims against the MoD, but we believe that there can be positive aspects of civil negligence cases for both parties. Every effort should be made to make the process as stress-free and swift as possible, including providing full access to medical records. Comprehensive and accurate information should be provided about all the options available to Service personnel in seeking compensation, including their recourse to the civil courts.

 

Cost

129. The Review document says that additional costs will result in the short term from the introduction of the new scheme but 'in the longer term we would expect the direct costs of the new scheme to be broadly cost neutral'.[227] The Royal British Legion told us that they were surprised that cost neutrality had been raised as an issue and we pursued this in evidence with the Minister for the Armed Forces. He explained that the amount paid in compensation was variable but the Department had to assume a certain level of cost for budgeting purposes; however, if a significantly higher number of claims was received than had been budgeted for, they would still be met and so in that sense, the compensation budget is not capped.[228] The Director General, Service Personnel Policy told us that the statement in the Review document was therefore—

... a description of the effect of our proposals. We did not, when looking at the Compensation Review, do so against an objective of cost neutrality ... We would not be faced by any budgetary constraint in terms of implementing any scheme ... because clearly the issue would be demand-related, and it would depend on the number and type of claims that we get ... If individuals are entitled, they will be paid.[229]

130. We accept that the parameter of cost neutrality was not set down for the new compensation arrangements in the same way as it was for the pensions review. But the Director General's comments are diversionary: of course the scheme is not cost-neutral or capped for an individual, but it is equally important to assess the overall impact of the scheme. The MoD must have made some calculation of the likely cost of the new scheme and there are other ways to limit payments made from a compensation scheme than by setting an overall cap. The rules under which a scheme operates determine the number of people the scheme will cover; the circumstances in which payments will be made; and the level of payments. These are all indirect, but nonetheless effective, means of controlling the overall costs of the scheme; of ensuring, in fact, that the direct costs of the new scheme will be 'broadly cost neutral'.[230]

131. Our impression is that the effect of the scheme may not simply be cost neutrality but may actually result in a saving for the MoD. Some elements of the proposals certainly offer the prospect of significant savings to the MoD budget. There will be fewer successful claims because of time restrictions and the shifting of the burden of proof to the claimant. Further savings will come from the transfer of responsibility for supplementary allowances to the Department for Work and Pensions. It is also the MoD's aim that there will be fewer civil negligence claims which may also contribute to a reduction in its liabilities. The MoD has not demonstrated that improvements in benefits to the most seriously injured, or the dependants of those who die, will balance these savings. The net result of the proposed new compensation arrangements therefore would appear to be a significant overall reduction in the MoD's liabilities for ex-Service personnel. This may have been inadvertent, but we do not regard it as desirable. The MoD should be seeking to provide levels of compensation which are appropriate to the commitment which Service personnel make and which reflect the MoD's duty to be a responsible employer. A reduction in expenditure on compensation fulfils neither of these criteria.

 

Reserves

132. Under the present arrangements, reservists can claim a war pension if they are medically discharged from the Reserve forces, and claims can also be considered at a later date, from retired reservists. The Armed Forces Pension Scheme operates an attributable benefits for reservists scheme for those who are medically discharged, with similar arrangements to those for the Regular Forces. The Review document proposes that reservists should be covered by the new compensation arrangements.[231] We agree that members of the Reserve Forces should continue to benefit from compensation arrangements which mirror those available to the Regular Forces.

 

Conclusion

133. We welcome the improvements which the new proposals undoubtedly offer in some areas, and the fact that, from the examples provided, it appears that a number of claimants will receive increased levels of compensation compared with the present system, particularly severely disabled claimants. However, we have to assess the new system in the context of how it will affect the Armed Forces generally, as well as in terms of improvements for individual Service personnel. The Minister told us that, as a result of the changes in time limits and burden of proof, there would be fewer successful claims for compensation in the future. The MoD has provided no evidence that the current provision is over-generous. Unless it can do so, the new proposals can only be regarded as an unacceptable diminution in the provision the Armed Forces makes for its employees.

 


169   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraphs 6.2-6.4 and Annex B Back

170   Q 31; Ev 4, paragraph 5.1 Back

171   Ev 3, paragraph 3.1 Back

172   Ev 94 Back

173   Ev 83 Back

174   Ev 108, paragraph 13 Back

175   Ev 43 Back

176   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 6.4 Back

177   Q 8 Back

178   Ev 117, paragraph 12 Back

179   War Pensions Agency leaflet 11, April 2000, How do we decide who receives a War Disablement Pension, pp 11-12 Back

180   Report on War Pensioners for 2000/2001, table 6 Back

181   Q 228 Back

182   Ev 117, paragraph 12 Back

183   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 5.5 Back

184   Ev 44 Back

185   Q 8 Back

186   QQ 244-245 Back

187   Ev 88, paragraph 21; Ev 85; Ev 108, paragraph 15  Back

188   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 6.7 Back

189   Ev 54-55, Annex E Back

190   See Ev 55-58, Annex F Back

191   Q 36 Back

192   Q 246 Back

193   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 6.8 Back

194   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 2.1.2 Back

195   Ev 45 Back

196   QQ 40-41 Back

197   Q 251 Back

198   War Pensions Agency Leaflet 11, How we decide who receives a War Disablement Pension, pp 5-8 Back

199   Ev 45; Q 253 Back

200   Q 252 Back

201   Ev 96, paragraph 8 Back

202   Ev 109 Back

203   Ev 141 Back

204   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 5.5 Back

205   Ev 46 Back

206   Ev 46 Back

207   War Pensions Quarterly Statistics, March 2001, Table 1.2 Back

208   Ev 84 Back

209   Ev 116, paragraph 11 Back

210   Ev 84 Back

211   Ev 97, paragraph 16 Back

212   Ev 118, paragraph 18 Back

213   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 8.10 Back

214   Ev 6, paragraph 12.1 Back

215   QQ 11-16 Back

216   Ev 6, paragraph 13.1 Back

217   QQ 194-195 Back

218   The repeal of Section 10 was not made retrospective, but a decision in the High Court on 22 January this year ruled that the principle of Crown immunity is incompatible with human rights legislation, opening the way for claims to be made for the pre-1987 period. The MoD intends to appeal the ruling and its position on settling pre-1987 claims remains unchanged until the appeal process is completed. See HC Deb, 31 January 2002, c 501w. Back

219   DC&L(F&S) Claims Annual Report 2000/2001, Ministry of Defence, July 2001, p 4 Back

220   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 3.13 Back

221   Ev 3 Back

222   Ev 86, paragraph 5-7 Back

223   Ev 46 Back

224   Ev 46 Back

225   Q 255 Back

226   Ev 46 Back

227   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 1.5 Back

228   Q 198 Back

229   QQ 200-203 Back

230   Compensation Review document, op cit, paragraph 1.5 Back

231   Compensation Review document, op cit, Section 9 Back

 
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