asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 20 April (WA 24), why the reserve standard award for the mobilised members of the Reserve Forces has not been changed since 1997; and whether they will update it forthwith, with retrospective effect to the beginning of the 2003 Iraq conflict.
The regulations for the Reservist's standard award are set out in SI 1997/309. Although the banded ceilings relating to that award were prescribed in 1997, they have continued to meet the needs of the vast majority of Reservists who have made claims for financial assistance under the regulations. Furthermore, those Reservists who believe that they would suffer hardship if they receive only the standard award are able to claim an additional hardship award. There is no ceiling for a hardship award. Reservists who are dissatisfied with the payments they receive from the Ministry of Defence may appeal to a Reserve Forces appeal tribunal. Of the 10,000 Reservists that have been called out since January 2003, only eight have submitted appeals regarding their financial awards. Of those eight, two were resolved to the Reservists' satisfaction before the date of the appeal hearing, two were found in favour of the Service authorities, one is ongoing and three have yet to be heard.
Notwithstanding that the current regulations have satisfied the needs of the great majority of Reservists, we recognise that the current system is both time-consuming to administer and perceived to be intrusive by Reservists. Also, we recognise that the banded ceilings are being eroded by pay awards. We are therefore planning to introduce new regulations, but there is no intention or need to make them retrospective.