§ Lord Mancroft
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will ensure that service personnel and civilians posted to the Gulf are reimbursed in respect of any liability to the community charge during their absence.
§ Baroness Blatch:
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment announced in another place on 19th February that the Government had concluded that Service personnel and associated 13WA civilians posted to the Gulf should not have to bear the cost of the community charge during the period of their posting and that we would consider in the light of the case of Bradford MBC v. Anderton how this could be achieved.
The Government have decided to establish a compensation scheme, to be operated by the Ministry of Defence, under which Service personnel and civilians posted to the Gulf will be reimbursed for any community charge liability incurred in the period of their absence. The scheme will apply to all uniformed Service personnel, including reservists; to civilians employed by the Ministry of Defence, including the merchant seamen of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; to merchant seamen on ships chartered by the Ministry of Defence; and to certain employees of defence contractors supporting the British armed forces in the Gulf. The scheme will be retrospective to the initial deployment in August 1990. Compensation will cease when an individual returns to Great Britain, except for personnel who are wounded where it will continue until they leave hospital or convalescent home.
The Government have already announced separate proposals to compensate local authorities which lose significant amounts of income in respect of those Service personnel whose liability for the community charge ceases as a consequence of posting to the Gulf.
The Department of the Environment will shortly be issuing to local authorities further guidance about the implications of the Anderton judgment for the community charge liability of Service personnel.