Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th January 2018.

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Photo of Melanie Onn Melanie Onn Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) (Housing) 12:00 am, 15th January 2018

When the Government plan to publish their response to the armed forces compensation scheme review, published in February 2017.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence is carefully considering the recommendations of the armed forces compensation scheme review. It has always been the intention to publish a response a year after the publication of the review, which came out in February 2017.

Photo of Melanie Onn Melanie Onn Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) (Housing)

As part of the Government’s response to the consultation, will the Minister consider the fact that, since the establishment of the compensation scheme 11 years ago, only 56% of claimants have been given awards, that 96% of those have been in the lowest four levels of support and that 60% of those low-level awards that are then appealed receive an increase in award? That significant percentage demonstrates flaws in the original decision-making process. Will he commit to urgently improving that first-stage decision making to ensure that veterans are given the support they deserve?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

I am happy to look at the concerns the hon. Lady raises. The quinquennial review took place in 2016, and overall we were found to have remained on track and fit for purpose. We are making some changes, but they will be announced later in the year.

Photo of Fabian Hamilton Fabian Hamilton Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Minister (Defence)

The Opposition strongly welcome reforms to the compensation scheme to make it fairer and easier to access, but we are concerned at Government proposals to prevent armed forces personnel and their families from seeking legal redress where there are failings that need to be highlighted. Not only would this remove an important legal right for injured service members, but it could prevent the MOD from learning lessons from past decisions. Will the Minister agree to think again and preserve the right of redress for personnel and their families?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

As I alluded to in my previous answer, no firm decisions have been made, but I will be presenting the results in due course, and I will bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman has said.