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Betrayed

PUBLISHED: 13:49 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:55 23 August 2010

Nick White

Nick White

Jamie Gray

A FORMER soldier injured during service accused the government of robbing them as they appeal to slash compensation for two wounded ex-servicemen. Nick White, 51, of Goodwood Crescent, Gravesend, a former soldier in the Royal Logistics Corps, spoke f

A FORMER soldier injured during service accused the government of 'robbing them' as they appeal to slash compensation for two wounded ex-servicemen.

Nick White, 51, of Goodwood Crescent, Gravesend, a former soldier in the Royal Logistics Corps, spoke from a specialist centre in Tyrwhitt House, Leatherhead, Surrey, where he is being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

On Tuesday Ministry of Defence (MoD) lawyers appeared in the Court of Appeal arguing ex-servicemen should only receive compensation for initial injuries and not any resulting complications. Mr White served in the armed forces for 23 years, completing two tours of Northern Ireland during the troubles. He injured his back during service in 1978 and now receives treatment from charity Combat Stress for his PTSD.

He said: "At the treatment centre I'm with people who are very angry about it. It's the talk of the troop, people who gave up and lost so much for this country.

"It seems like they (government) are just trying to save money but they are robbing people of compensation. I feel that the MoD is trying to penny pinch.

"The payments are too low as it is. We are a different class, a lower class than other people. The way I look at it is if a secretary can get £100,000 for repetitive strain injury to her wrist and someone who has been wounded in Afghanistan to get £1,000 for losing his legs there's something wrong." turn to page 2

Light Dragoon Anthony Duncan, underwent a series of operations after being shot in the left thigh while on patrol in Iraq in September 2005. He was initially awarded £9,250 in compensation but this was increased to £46,000 and a guaranteed monthly payment following an appeal.

Royal Marine Matthew McWilliams fractured his thigh during a training exercise. He was awarded £8,250, increased on appeal to £28,750 along with a guaranteed weekly payment due to damage to his knee following surgery.

But the MoD has launched an appeal to slash the awards despite a High Court ruling in June last year that drawing distinctions between the original injuries and later complications was 'absurd'. A judgement on the current appeal is expected in October.

Mr White's views are supported by the Royal British Legion as they call for a full review in to the system.

Spokesperson Robert Lee said: "The Royal British Legion believes the armed forces compensation is scheme is inadequate and is calling for a full review of the system to be completed so it reflects not generous but adequate compensation for soldiers' injuries.

"There are time limits on claims and we feel this should be scrapped and we feel the scheme needs a second pair of eyes on it to see whether the payouts provided are in keeping with the needs and the nation's sense of fairness.

"Every case is a pivotal case and these are high profile cases to be sure but they are only one of many thousands of cases the British Legion represents on behalf of soldiers every year.

"We will continue to represent payouts to injured service personnel and their bereaved families."

Mr White added: "They (government) have taken a big step in the wrong direction. To me the injury is the cause of the other problems. It's the causation that you are paying for. If that causation continues to cause other problems then they should pay for that too.

"If things flare up in the future then they should pay for that too. You can never tell what is going to happen. Therefore they have got to be able to keep going back to court and saying 'This has happened because of my original injury'."

The case comes as a British soldier from the 40th Regiment Royal Artillery became the 20th to die in Afghanistan this month. Since the start of operations in 2001, 189 British service personnel have been killed.

The MoD is currently reviewing its compensation scheme. Under the current system the maximum lump sum payment is capped at £570,000 with additional tax free lifelong monthly payments also available.

A MoD spokesperson said: "The MoD is appealing in order to clarify an earlier judgment about how the scheme is administered, and to protect the key principle of the scheme: the most compensation for the most seriously injured.

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