BAFF Executive Douglas Young was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio Wales about an expected Government announcement today (10 Feb 2010) of further improvements to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for personnel injured on duty after 5 April, 2005. In welcoming improvements, Young supported the call by The Royal British Legion in their Election Manifesto for the Scheme in future to be kept under continuous review.
In his BBC Radio Wales interview, Young expressed concern that today's expected announcement was also preparing the ground for a more rigorous policy in respect of personnel who were unable to return to full military fitness as a result of injury or sickness. Young also commented on a call by the National Audit Office for Defence Chiefs and the NHS to deal with the consequences of a rise in the number of troops requiring treatment or evacuation from Afghanistan.
BAFF Chairman Douglas Young, who last year criticised the Ministry of Defence for their decision to appeal compensation awards in favour of injured soldiers, is quoted in the News of the World as welcoming a leaked report that long-term compensation to personnel seriously injured on duty will be boosted by 30%. The News of the World's exclusive and Young's quote was also picked up by other media.
WHAT A VICTORY!
Wounded British soldiers to receive 30% compensation boost
By Jamie Lyons, News of the World EXCLUSIVE, 07/02/2010
HERO soldiers injured in action have won a long, hard-fought battle to get their compensation payments boosted.
Seriously hurt troops will collect 30 PER CENT more cash, amounting to thousands of pounds every year, in an overhaul of the heavily criticised scheme to be announced by Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth.
Compo for mental illness will go up too. And the changes are retrospective so they also apply to hundreds of soldiers already receiving payouts.
Mr Ainsworth asked former forces head Admiral Lord Boyce to carry out a major review of compensation after a barrage of protests over measly payouts to our wounded heroes.
Lord Boyce has made a string of recommendations after being told "money is no object". And Ainsworth has accepted EVERY ONE of them.
Boyce's team concluded the tax-free lump sum of up to £570,000 paid to the most seriously injured soldiers was sufficient.
But he said the annual awards they get to compensate for loss of earnings are too low. The amount paid varies depending on seriousness of the injury, age and salary. But Lord Boyce said the current system failed to recognise that soldiers get promoted.
He said it was unfair to base a private's compo on his old salary because he might have gone on to become a sergeant.
The changes mean a private who might get £20,000 a year after losing a leg will now be paid £26,000. That's on top of free medical care, financial advice, plus grants to adapt his home.
Boyce drew up his recommendations with help from injured soldiers, army charities, and legal and medical experts. He spoke to patients at rehabilitation centres like Fusilier Thomas James, 20, who lost an arm in a bomb ambush which killed his pal Fusilier Shaun Bush, 24, as they patrolled together in Sangin, Afghanistan.
Tom is now recuperating from his horrific injuries at the Headley Court centre in Surrey.
The MoD was blasted last year for appealing against compo given to two wounded soldiers. The Court of Appeal ruled servicemen should get more if their afflictions worsen.
And brave soldiers have had to fight the MoD to get proper payouts. Lance-bombadier Ben Parkinson shamed the government with his campaign for a fair deal.
An explosion in Afghanistan in 2006 blew off both his legs above the knees, broke his back and caused 35 other injuries. He was offered just £152,000 but finally got £540,000.
The compo boost, expected to be announced this week, is not as much as some campaigners hoped. But it has been welcomed by soldiers.
Douglas Young, of the British Armed Forces Federation, said: "These people are some of the most deserving in the country. Bob Ainsworth should be congratulated."
An MoD source said: "Bob realised people didn't have confidence in the system. He asked Boyce to make whatever changes he thought were necessary and not to be constrained by money. He was determined to get this right."
- News of the World 07/02/2010: Wounded British soldiers to receive 30% compensation boost