Memorandum submitted by the Royal Naval Association (4 September 2001)
1. The Royal Naval Association is grateful to the Defence Committee of the House of Commons for the opportunity to give written evidence on the MoD's Proposals for Changes to Compensation Arrangements and Armed Forces Pension Scheme.
2. The Association has more than 450 branches in UK and abroad and over 36,000 members. We believe ourselves to be about four per cent of the constituency of men and women who fought in the Naval Service during the Second World War.
3. All members of the RNA who served in WWII, the Falklands, the Gulf and the Balkans placed their lives at risk in the service of their country to preserve democracy for themselves and others. They believe that, at least, fair compensation should be available to those who are killed or injured in the service of their country. This principle applies equally to those Servicemen and women of the future.
4. The Compensation Review completely fails to recognise the special status of War Pensioners and War Widows. Indeed, it insults that status by comparing injuries received as a result of service to those received by civilians/those injured in criminal activities under the discredited Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. In this regard, the Review is fundamentally flawed.
5. The proposed compensation levels are too low. They do not in any way reflect the reduced investment returns on capital in the current financial climate. There is no mention of index linking.
6. We believe that it would be very wrong to pay a lump sum as compensation for lost earnings as opposed to an income stream. The proposal to have a Guaranteed Income Scheme is to be welcomed. Again, there is no mention of index linking.
7. The tariff equates amputation of limbs and does not reflect the current practice of the War Pensions Agency of differentiating on the length of the residual stump.
8. There is no mention of the continuation of the War Pensioners' Welfare Service or any aftercare welfare service or of priority treatment in the NHS for War Pensioners for their accepted disabilities.
9. There is no mention of the Inheritance Tax Concession given for those who are killed in action or who die later as a result of wounds gained in battle.
10. With regard to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, there is concern that all the publicity concerning the current scheme inform the Serviceman/woman that a full pension including gratuity is worth 2/3 of their representative rate of pay. The new scheme is going to give an equivalent of only 62.5 per cent of final pay. This shortfall is unsatisfactory, particularly when compared to other nations, for example Netherlands. There is no recognition of the increased hazards of service life in the proposed levels of awards, which appear to compare poorly with other public sector employees. Once again, the underlying philosophy behind the review is fundamentally flawed.
11. The British Armed Forces are second to none. If either of these two reviews is accepted, they will not contribute to the continuation of this.
12. In summary, the Compensation Review and the Armed Forces Pension Scheme are woefully inadequate in ensuring that those Servicemen and women of the future are as well looked after as those of the present and past.