Thursday 17 June 2010

Live up to your word Nick Harvey...

This blog chided the previous Government for fighting to avoid paying any compensation to former servicemen who witnessed Britain’s nuclear tests.

Many of them have suffered terrible health problems or have died after being exposed to radiation.

Soldiers from Canada and Australia who witnessed the tests have been given payouts from their respective Governments, yet our Ministry of Defence shamelessly resists.

I’ve no doubt the veterans and their families, around 1,000 of them, will win their case eventually.

But the legal tactics being employed by the MoD is causing the case to become hugely drawn out – meaning many veterans will die before they have a chance to get justice.

It now emerges that in June last year the current Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey made this statement (full version):

“It is high time these people received the long-overdue compensation they deserve for the ill effects they have suffered.

“The MoD cannot justify wasting a penny more on top of the hundreds of thousands they have already spent in fighting legal battles.

“They must immediately put an end to this scandalous, penny-pinching treatment and deliver on their 'duty of care' to our nation's nuclear test veterans.”

He added: “Britain…continues to ignore her veterans and hide behind legislation to deny a fair and democratic hearing in the public domain.”

Yet since becoming a minister we’ve not heard anything on the issue from him.

So come on Mr Harvey – compensation, as you say, is “long overdue”. Now is the time to deliver on your “duty of care” to Britain’s nuclear test veterans.

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