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Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: This issue is under consideration as part of the Government's response to the House of Commons Defence Committee's recent report on duty of care. A copy of the Government's response will be placed in the Library of the House.

Future Aircraft Carrier

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: No external consultants are currently employed directly by the Ministry of Defence on the future aircraft carrier programme. The only areas of external assistance currently engaged are the provision of legal and insurance advice to the department in the drafting of the alliance agreement and works contracts. Such assistance is provided under general arrangements negotiated by the department and the pricing details are commercially sensitive.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The future aircraft carrier (CVF) design continues to evolve as we seek to balance the overall performance, time and cost parameters as part of normal assessment phase activity. Design drawings are provided to the department by industry as part of work performed under the assessment phase contracts. Placing them in the Library of the House would prejudice the commercial interests of the department and industry and to be prejudicial to the capability and security of the Armed Forces.

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bach: Information and publicity material for the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) make clear that claiming compensation under no-fault AFCS does not preclude a service person, former service person or their dependants from making a civil claim for damages where employer negligence is an issue. They also make clear that, in such circumstances, this may lead to a higher level of compensation.

This material also explains how an award under the AFCS will be abated against pension scheme benefits and awards from third party insurance or from the courts. The Veterans' Agency's War Pensions Welfare Service will be able to help individuals access information on how an award might affect entitlement to means-tested benefits.

This information is being made available to personnel administration units within the Armed Forces, to individual service personnel and to interested ex-service organisations, both in hard copy and electronically, and an advice line will also be available through the Veterans' Agency.

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: Lump sum injury payments awarded under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) are individual payments of compensation for personal injury caused by service in the Armed Forces. Depending on a number of factors, it may be advantageous to the recipient to place the lump sum in trust if he or she is also in receipt of income related benefits.

It is a matter for the recipient to decide what arrangements to make with respect to these payments, but payment notifications issued by the Veterans' Agency will set out the position described above and will advise the individual to seek information from the Department for Work and Pensions or from an independent adviser.

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a no-fault compensation scheme, which provides benefits to service personnel, ex-service personnel and service dependants where injury, illness or death is caused by service in the Armed Forces on or after 6 April 2005.
 
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The AFCS will automatically consider entitlement to benefits where a service person dies in service leaving dependants, and where a service person is invalided out of the Armed Forces. In all other cases, it will be the decision of the service person, ex-service person or service dependant whether to make a claim. A claim does not preclude other routes to compensation.

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) provides benefits on a no-fault basis for injury, illness and death caused by service in the Armed Forces on or after 6 April 2005. The term compensation is used in line with the Concise Oxford English Dictionary definition, namely "something awarded to compensate for loss, suffering or injury". The Ministry of Defence has made it clear that payment of benefits under the AFCS would not remove a service person's, ex-service person's or service dependant's right to make a common law claim where negligence is at issue. This is also explained in the booklet issued to all currently serving personnel.

The Ministry of Defence met the Royal British Legion's solicitors' group on 11 February 2005 and discussed a range of issues.

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) is a no-fault compensation scheme, which provides benefits to service personnel, ex-service personnel and service dependants where injury, illness or death is caused by service in the Armed Forces on or after 6 April 2005. Assistance to vulnerable claimants is available from the War Pensioners Welfare Service of the Veterans Agency, who can provide details of other supporting organisations, including the Royal British Legion. The booklet on the AFCS, which is being provided to all currently serving personnel, also gives details of such organisations and explains that the Royal British Legion can provide contact details for a panel of solicitors.
 
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Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach : The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS), like the War Pensions Scheme (WPS), is a no-fault compensation scheme. The AFCS provides lump sum benefits and, to the most seriously injured ex-service personnel, a guaranteed income payment (GIP).

AFCS does not make separate provision for future care costs, the main route to healthcare (including nursing) is through the NHS with priority treatment provided for accepted disorders. AFCS recipients will be able to claim state social security benefits in the normal way including care and disability benefits.

To avoid double compensation for regular service personnel, the AFCS GIP is abated by any pension scheme benefits paid under the Armed Forces Pensions Scheme. Parallel abatement rules apply to benefits to reservists. In addition, where civil damages are recovered for the same injury, the AFCS legislation includes a discretion to reduce its benefits


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