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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Injured para's payout 'too low'
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson lost both legs in Afghanistan
The mother of one of the Army's most seriously injured soldiers has said an increase in compensation for wounded troops is "still nowhere near enough".

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, 23, was awarded 152,150 after losing both legs in a landmine explosion in Afghanistan.

Under new Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans announced on Thursday, the Doncaster soldier will get 285,000.

His mother, Diane Dernie, welcomed the increase but said a dignified life for injured soldiers was "a long way off".

'Timing and pressure'

Speaking in Sheffield after the announcement, Mrs Dernie said she believed the MoD treated soldiers as a "commodity".

Ben and the other boys in this situation, they've given their all and deserve not to have a life of worry
Diane Dearne

"It's not only Ben, this burden is on his family now for the rest of Ben's life, we would have hoped that maximum would have been raised so that some of that worry could be taken away."

She added that "timing and public pressure" had forced the changes to the compensation scheme, rather than any "feeling of responsibility" by the MoD.

Mrs Dernie said injured soldiers were "figures on a balance sheet" which the MoD wanted "to dispose of... as cheaply as possible".

The soldier's mother said she believed the MoD would not have changed its policy had it not been for her campaign.

"Ben and the other boys in this situation, they've given their all and they deserve not to have a life of worry for themselves and for their families, and we'll fight for that for them."

'Have responsibility'

Mrs Dernie said it was difficult to put a figure on what would be an appropriate level of compensation.

"Whilst we know that there's the will to make things better, we expected that that would be done with as little expense as possible and that's really what we've seen", she said.

Announcing the planned changes, secretary of state for defence, Des Browne, said the review would benefit those with the most serious multiple injuries.

He said: "Our armed forces are unique in making a vital contribution to the security of our nation and we have a responsibility to continue to look after them properly when they get injured."

In a statement, the MoD said it was "committed to ensuring that our injured personnel are given the compensation they deserve".

It said: "It is important to note that seriously injured personnel will receive an annual tax-free index-linked guaranteed income payment for life on top of a lump sum payment worth up to 285,000."

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