The Ministry of Defence is going to court to appeal against increased compensation awarded to two soldiers, one injured in training, one injured in combat. The lawyers' argument is expected to be that only initial injuries should be compensated, not subsequent health problems. If every case were to be judged on its merits then the uneasy feeling I have might not be justified. My fear is that if the MoD wins its appeal this victory might be thought to set a precedent in all following judgements. A fractured thigh may lead to arthritis later on which might not be considered too difficult to live with (except by the sufferer) A person blinded in a bomb attack will need help to adjust to a sightless existence. What of those victims suffering psychological trauma following physical injury? What about severe injuries which might have unforeseen complications many years hence? Certainly the compensation should be appropriate but surely there cannot be one set payment for each description of injury with no thought for the future, no evaluation of what might develop?
Meanwhile, while the armed forces continue to fight in Afghanistan at the command of the Government, Members of Parliament, recently entangled in a grimy expenses scandal, have managed to pass new rules allowing them to claim £25 per night without presenting receipts, giving them a potential extra payment of £9125 per annum. The subsistence allowance can be claimed for refreshments for any night spent away on business.
MPs have also awarded themselves a pay rise below inflation of 2.25% while at the same time keeping the so-called 'John Lewis' list which enables them to spend taxpayers' money on furniture and household goods for their second homes. Average pay for MPs is £64776 on top of which they receive additional allowances to run their offices, employ staff, find places to live in London and their constituencies and to cover travel between Parliament and their constituencies. The pay rise will bring average pay to £66,223. A possible £9125 in food and drink expenses raises it to £75348. Some MPs are paid more for special responsibilities such as Chairmen of Select Committees and Speaker of the House. Those who are government ministers receive an extra salary.
There are currently 646 MPs. The annual bill for these our servants will be £48,674,808 at the very least.