HC Deb 20 February 1973 vol 851 cc204-5
6. Mr. Dykes

asked the Minister of State for Defence when he expects to announce the results of the review of pension and gratuity arrangements for military casualties in Northern Ireland and their dependants.

Mr. Ian Gilmour

Our general review of pension arrangements, including the benefits payable for injury or death attributable to service, is making good progress, but I am not yet ready to make a statement.

Mr. Dykes

In view of the time that has elapsed during the review, does my hon. Friend intend to endorse and confirm yet again that he and his colleagues will provide the most generous possible compensation by gratuities, lump sum payments or pensions to the widows and families of those killed or injured in Northern Ireland?

Mr. Gilmour

Of course I hope, as did my predecessor, that we shall be able to announce a good, fair and generous scheme for these people.

Major-General Jack d'AvigdorGoidsmid

Does my hon. Friend agree that we should pay tribute to the Lord Mayor of Belfast's fund which, following casualties in my regiment, has provided instant and generous donations?

Mr. Gilmour

Yes, I entirely agree with my hon. and gallant Friend.

Mr. Douglas

Will the Minister make it quite clear that we should give assistance to dependants who seek compensation from the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries Board? It strikes me as unjust that people who have sustained bereavement in Northern Ireland have to go through the normal civil procedure without adequate assistance from the military authorities.

Mr. Gilmour

The hon. Gentleman is not being quite fair. Under the present procedure many of the dependants whose husbands have been killed have done quite well out of it and we provide assistance.