Page last updated at 11:33 GMT, Sunday, 2 August 2009 12:33 UK

MoD payout decision 'incredible'

General Sir Mike Jackson
The compensation review had been due to take place next year

The former Head of the Army, General Sir Mike Jackson, has said he wants a review into compensation for injured troops to be independent.

The review was brought forward after the Ministry of Defence was criticised for launching a legal bid to try to cut payouts to two injured servicemen.

The pair had developed further problems while being treated.

Sir Mike said the notion medical complications suffered by troops should not be covered was "incredible."

He said the current compensation system was better than its predecessor but he believed it had deficiencies.

He said: "The difficulty with the MoD is that on the one hand you have, dare I say it, the civil side of the MoD perhaps with cost as their first concern.

"You have the military side of the MOD with the welfare of the soldiers as their first concern, these two things are not always in harmony.

"But to get to the position frankly, whereby a case was being attempted to be made that medical complications, subsequent to the original injury seemed to have nothing to do with the original injury and therefore did not come into the compensation regime, seems to me to be incredible. "

'Compensation doubled'

Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell denied the government had misjudged the public's mood by launching the legal action.

"The reason we appealed the principle of the tribunal ruling is that it would have fundamentally breached the crucial principle that the most compensation should go to those most seriously injured," he said.

"Had we not launched the appeal, I believe the tribunal ruling, if it were allowed to stand, would have been an injustice and unfair to those troops who had been most seriously injured."

He added: "This is a government which just last year doubled the maximum compensation for our most seriously injured armed forces. Those are not the actions of a government which is prepared to neglect its armed forces."

The Court of Appeal action involves Corporal Anthony Duncan and Royal Marine Matthew McWilliams.

Cpl Duncan was initially awarded £9,250 after being shot, while Marine McWilliams received £8,250 for fracturing his thigh on a training exercise, before they appealed to a tribunal for further compensation.

Both men argued they had suffered a number of subsequent health problems during their treatment and these should not be regarded as separate from their original injuries.

The review of the compensation scheme will involve consultation with legal experts, service charities and troops and their families.

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