Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 11:43 UK

Weston angered by payouts cut bid

Simon Weston
Simon Weston was injured while serving in the Falklands War

Falkands War veteran Simon Weston said injured members of the armed forces should be properly compensated as the UK government tries to claw back cash.

He said there was a "duty of honour" to those injured on duty and cutting compensation was "mean spirited".

He said the Ministry of Defence's bid to cut the compensation awarded to two injured soldiers was "penny pinching".

But the MoD says awards should only be paid for original injuries and not subsequent complications.

The former Welsh Guardsman, from Nelson in Caerphilly county, south Wales, was badly injured an Argentinean bomb attack on the British troop ship Sir Galahad.

He spoke as the MoD goes to the Court of Appeal seeking to overturn a ruling that the two soldiers' subsequent health problems during their treatment should not be regarded as separate from their original injuries.

The injured soldiers were initially awarded £9,250 and £8,250 respectively, but they appealed to a tribunal to have those sums increased.

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

Three judges agreed with them and increased their compensation, but the MoD is now seeking to overturn that ruling.

Mr Weston said he was angry about the government's decision to pursue the issue.

He said the MoD's court action was "probably the most mean-spirited penny pinching way you can treat these incredible people".

He said: "I'm sick and tired of people using service people as political footballs. They're not. They're human being doing a very dangerous and hard job.

"They are not just a commodity. They are human beings. They're our human beings. They're British boys and girls that we're sending to war and we should pay respect by looking after them correctly.

"Their lives are blighted, whatever. They will not be able to work in many of these cases.

"So if the attributable injuries and complications afterwards cause them not to be able to work, then we have to pay them for that.

'Hugely disabled'

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It's a travesty that the MOD has even considered taking this action in the first place
[CynicalMark]

"It shouldn't come down to a balance sheet."

The MoD has pointed out that it has doubled the maximum lump sum payment to £570,000 for the most severely injured soldiers, in addition to an index-linked monthly income for life.

Mr Weston said the money would be for someone who was "hugely disabled" and unlikely ever to work again.

"When you think that has to buy them a house and last them the rest of their lives and they cannot work again, it's not a huge amount of money.

"The government don't come in and buy or build them a house as well. They don't have this as luxury pot of money."

He said any monthly income was to cover the cost of their care.

"That's to guarantee that they'll have somebody there to be able to wipe their backside, (to) change their catheter if necessary. It's not cheap."

A review of the compensation scheme is currently being carried out by the MoD following a number of appeals from, or on behalf of, former servicemen.



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SEE ALSO
Weston on Falklands war 'losers'
02 Apr 02 |  Wales
Weston approval at Falklands plan
13 Nov 06 |  South East Wales
Soldier's injury pay 'degrading'
01 Nov 07 |  Bristol
Injured para's payout 'too low'
11 Oct 07 |  South Yorkshire

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