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Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Henley: The procedure by which present or former Servicemen and women may claim compensation from my department for personal injury is set out in a Defence Council Instruction published each year. It recommends that prospective claimants approach the Royal British Legion initially as the organisation best placed to liaise with my department on such claims.

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Henley: Service board of inquiry reports are internal documents relating to inquiries held in private. These documents are, however, potentially disclosable to a court to assist the legal process in any legal case to which they are relevant. Additionally, since December 1992, in recognition of the special position of next of kin, these reports have been made available to the nominated next of kin of deceased Service personnel, or to the individual in cases of serious permanent injury, should they so request, subject only to the essential minimum of security requirements.

27 Jun 1995 : Column WA51

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What resettlement training is available to Servicemen disabled in accidents during training in the Armed Forces.

Lord Henley: As a concession, all ranks who are discharged on medical grounds and who have served one year's reckonable service are eligible for the full range of resettlement provision. This includes a comprehensive range of briefings, plus four weeks pre–release training covering a wide variety of subjects. Courses are provided in-house at the main resettlement centres at Aldershot or Catterick, externally through commercial providers, or sponsored with eligibility for a grant through educational and training institutions throughout the UK. Service leavers may also undertake familiarisation attachments or spend time with companies to gain work experience or on the job training.

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many claims have been made against the Ministry of Defence by Servicemen as a result of discharges from firearms since 1987.

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Lord Henley: At present, 53 compensation claims have been identified for injury resulting from the negligent discharge of weapons.

Parachute Regiment: Costs

Lord Fanshawe of Richmond asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimated annual cost of the Parachute Regiment compared to the annual cost of an infantry battalion of the line.

Lord Henley: The comparative costs between the Parachute Regiment and an infantry battalion could be misleading, as the Parachute Regiment is made up of three battalions. The annual costs of both depend upon role and location. The average annual military manpower cost for a battalion of each, based on Peacetime Establishment and the latest average capitation rates, is as follows:

    Parachute battalion: £12.31 million

    Infantry battalion: £11.02 million

Members of a parachute battalion receive a daily parachute pay allowance of £3.43, which amounts to an average annual total of £1.19 million and which, in the main, accounts for the difference in the cost comparison above.

27 Jun 1995 : Column WA51

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