Government climbdown over compensation for wounded soldiers

Defence secretary orders immediate review of compensation scheme, but MoD will not drop its appeal

The government has bowed to public opinion and ordered an immediate review of the Armed Forces compensation scheme for wounded soldiers.

Bob Ainsworth, the defence secretary, cut short his summer holiday yesterday amid growing public anger over the Ministry of Defence's decision to challenge awards granted to two injured servicemen.

In an important climbdown for the government, Ainsworth announced that a review of the army compensation scheme planned for next year would be brought forward and begin immediately.

He said: "As Defence Secretary I cannot allow a situation to continue that leaves the public in any doubt over my or the Government's commitment to our servicemen and women.

"The debate in recent weeks has demonstrated that the current scheme is not fully equipped to deal with anomalies, legal complexities and wider issues relating to how we compensate our servicemen and women."

However, the announcement does not mean that the MoD will drop its appeal against the increase in awards made to Corporal Anthony Duncan and Marine Matthew McWilliams. Judges will give their ruling in October on whether a tribunal was right to raise the original awards.