HL Deb 04 July 1994 vol 556 cc60-1WA
Lord Tebbit

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are satisfied with the disparity between the level of compensation paid to members of the Armed Services who choose to become unfit for service as a consequence of pregnancy and those becoming unfit through injuries incurred on active service, and, if not, whether they will eliminate such disparities.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Viscount Cranborne)

We have offered an average of £4,000 to Servicewomen claiming compensation for unlawful discrimination through having been discharged on pregnancy. These offers are considered to be reasonable, in that they are based on loss of earnings and pension benefits from the date of discharge to the day before confinement, plus a sum of injury to feelings. However, a number of claimants have been dissatisified with these offers and have taken their cases to industrial tribunals. Some, though by no means all, of the resulting tribunal awards have been very large. We are legally bound to comply with these awards, but will appeal against them whenever there are grounds for doing so. Compensation awarded by tribunals in these cases is intended to put the claimant in the position she would have been in had she not suffered the unlawful act. The same common law principle applies to the level of compensation awarded in personal injury claims, which Service personnel can take to court.