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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 20:41 GMT
Troops' compensation 'not enough'
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson
The former paratrooper will need special care for the rest of his life
Lawyers say they will continue to fight for more financial help for injured troops, despite new rule changes.

Defence minister Derek Twigg said he had scrapped regulations under which personnel with multiple injuries could only claim for the three most serious.

From February, injured troops will receive payments covering all of their injuries, up to 285,000.

Lawyers for a soldier believed the most severely-hurt said it should be raised to 500,000, as with civilian claims.

The government also announced the addition of monthly "guaranteed income protection" benefits to make up for lost earnings, which could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds over a soldier's lifetime.

Additional payments will also be made to about 20 seriously-injured personnel who have made claims under the old system since April 2005, to bring them in line with the new regime.

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, 23, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire lost both legs and suffered brain damage as well as more than 30 other injuries in a 2006 landmine blast in Afghanistan.

The soldier spent three months in a coma and is thought to be the most severely-injured soldier ever to survive.

Certainly the fight goes on
Diane Dernie, Ben Parkinson's mother

He will see his lump-sum payment rise from 152,150 to the maximum 285,000.

Solicitor Andrew Buckham said: "His future needs are still going to be significant and the lump-sum payment still needs to be increased to ensure that Ben, and other service personnel in his position, can achieve independent living.

"We feel that the maximum limit should be comparable to civilian schemes, all payments should also be assessed fairly and completely in line with the future needs of the injured services personnel to allow them to live an independent life."

The compensation changes announced are identical to government proposals revealed last October.

The Royal British Legion said the reforms would benefit only 10 servicemen a year.

Director of welfare Sue Freeth said the MoD turned down the legion's call for the 285,000 ceiling to be dumped.

"We cannot see any reasons, other than financial, why a limit is being placed on these payments," she said.

National campaign

Injuries are rated on a scale of one to 15, qualifying victims for payments ranging from the full 285,000 for conditions such as loss of all four limbs; brain injury leading to persistent vegetative state; or total deafness and blindness, to 1,050 for a hernia or fractured finger.

Under the old system, payments were made at 100% for the first injury, 30% for the second and 15% for the third, but claims could not be made for any further physical damage suffered.

L/Bombardier Parkinson's mother Diane Dernie, launched a national campaign after being told he would receive 115,000 for the loss of his legs, 34,500 for serious head injuries and 2,650 for a broken elbow, but nothing for a host of other injuries including fractured ribs, cheekbone, jaw, nose, pelvis and vertebrae.

Ms Dernie said she wanted to look at the "nuts and bolts" of the new MoD offer, but added: "Certainly the fight goes on."

She told the BBC: "The problem is, where Ben is from in Doncaster is not a particularly expensive area, but 285 (285,000) will not buy property and make suitable adaptations for these boys."

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said: "The announcement is simply a repeat of what was announced in October.

"Whilst we believe this is a step in the right direction, this does not address the whole issue."

SEE ALSO
New payout hope for injured Para
02 Sep 07 |  South Yorkshire

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