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Payouts double

PUBLISHED: 14:44 23 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:57 23 August 2010

COMPENSATION payouts for soldiers severely wounded in action are to be doubled as part of a government move to improve the lifestyle of the military. But while they welcome the measures veterans say there are countless soldiers who were injured before th

COMPENSATION payouts for soldiers severely wounded in action are to be doubled as part of a government move to improve the lifestyle of the military.

But while they welcome the measures veterans say there are countless soldiers who were injured before the scheme's cut-off date that will not benefit.

Defence Secretary Des Browne last Thursday announced plans to double the maximum amount for the most severe cases from £285,000 to £570,000.

Those with less serious injuries are also expected to qualify for substantial rises.

The changes will apply to all personnel injured after April 2005 meaning that over 100 soldiers injured in Iraq and all of those injured in earlier conflicts will not receive any additional compensation.

Nick White, 50, of Goodwood Crescent Gravesend, served in the Royal Logistics Corps for 23 years and did two tours of Northern Ireland. He injured his back during service in 1978.

He said: "It's obviously going to make a lot of difference to some people but not for everybody. All the veterans who didn't get compensation when they were injured a long time ago in World War Two, the Falklands or Northern Ireland will be no better off. They will still have to live on their war pension."

The measures also include an investigation into the unique healthcare needs of veterans and the running of pilot schemes to improve veterans' access to community mental health schemes. Despite the measures Mr White says that more needs to done to help soldiers who return from conflicts with injuries.

He said: "As soon as you get discharged you are on your own. Veterans are meant to have priority treatment but I have been waiting for an operation since April.

"The government don't do enough so we have to rely on charities to help us."

Also included in the plan is free bus travel for injured servicemen and women, better access to dentists and school places and free higher education for those with six or more year's service in the armed forces.

jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk

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