AS I SEE IT: Compensation shame of soldiers injured in Afghanistan
We can lend the Irish £3.2bn. We can afford £7bn in overseas aid. We can give Pakistan £650,000 towards new schools. We can increase the amount of expenses our politicians are allowed to claim.
But we can’t look after our severely injured Servicemen who are sent to fight a war in Afghanistan.
This fact was recently highlighted by local man Sergeant Rick Clements, who, while on patrol in Helmand Province stood on a Taliban bomb.
His devastating injuries are the loss of both legs, serious injury to his arm and terrible internal injuries that have resulted in him being told he will never father children. How do you put a price on such a horrendous personal situation?
Rick Clements, and many others like him, are heroes. We are told the war in Afghanistan is to ensure the safety of UK citizens from terrorists. It is, therefore, reasonable to presume that when any of our heroes suffers devastating injuries the UK should look after them.
Unfortunately, like so many other instances in this country, that sort of logic is not upheld.
It is impossible to imagine what Rick, his girlfriend and family have been through since the news of his injuries was announced.
It is slightly easier to understand their feelings when it became known how the UK intends to look after Rick and his future.
A letter from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme informed him his injuries entitled him to £633,025 in compensation. But he was then informed by some nameless bureaucrat from the Ministry of Defence that only a capped figure of £570,000 would be paid.
Forgetting the rights and wrongs of putting a price on Rick’s individual injuries to arrive at a compensation figure, once this amount has been calculated it should be paid in full.
To be informed he is to receive £63,025 less because of a maximum payment figure is a disgrace.
A further disgrace is – if Rick had suffered his injuries as a civilian, he could have expected £4m. in compensation. Also a clerk working for the RAF received £484,000 after suffering a damaged thumb while typing computer data.
So the UK can bail out every man and his dog across Europe and financially assist other countries to improve their lot but we cannot properly compensate our servicemen who defend these shores against terrorism.
If you feel as strongly as I do about this travesty of justice which affects many of our armed forces please visit www.hmsolicitors.co.uk/military_accidents/online_petition.
Here you can read more information and sign the petition asking that our armed forces are treated humanely.
By Steve Rush