The Prime Minister has ordered a crackdown on abuse by lawyers pursuing spurious claims against British soldiers. This is good news.
It is clear that there is now an industry trying to profit from spurious claims lodged against our brave servicemen and women. This is unacceptable and no way to treat the people who risk their lives to keep our country safe – This government understands that it has got to end.
The National Security Council will produce a comprehensive plan to stamp out this industry, including proposals to clamp down on no win, no fee schemes used by law firms, speeding up the planned legal aid residence test, and strengthening investigative powers and penalties against firms found to be abusing the system. We will also take firm action against any firms found to have abused the system in the past to pursue fabricated claims.
Our armed forces are rightly held to the highest standards, but our troops must know that when they get home from action overseas this Government will protect them from being hounded by lawyers over claims that are totally without foundation.
This is most welcome and furthermore we show our support for our brave men and women with the following:
Delivering the latest military equipment to ensure Britain meets its defence obligations
· Delivering the latest military equipment so that our Armed Forces are the best in the world. Over the next 10 years, we will spend £178 billion on defence equipment and equipment support
· This means that we will be:
o Creating two new fully equipped strike brigades with forces of up to 5,000 personnel each who will be to deploy rapidly and sustain themselves in the field.
o Increasing the size of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force by a total of 700 personnel.
o Renewing the continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent – our ultimate insurance policy.
o Investing in nine maritime patrol aircraft to protect our nuclear deterrent, hunt down hostile submarines and enhance our maritime search and rescue capabilities.
o Extending the life of our multi-role Typhoons for 10 extra years through to 2040, meaning we will be able to create two additional squadrons.
o Accelerating the F-35 programme, by buying 42 jets by 2023.
o Investing £1.9 billion over five years in our cybersecurity.
· Increasing the equipment budget. We are delivering on our commitment to increase the equipment budget by at least one per cent in real terms and continue to meet the NATO target to spend 20 per cent of the defence budget on researching, developing and procuring new equipment/
· Helping Service personnel to buy their own home. Our Forces Help to Buy scheme allows personnel to borrow up to 50 per cent of their salary so they can buy their own home. Already 2,600 personnel have been able to move in to their home with 1,400 waiting to complete
· Improving facilities for severely injured personnel - to help them recover from their injuries. Injured soldiers now have access to the latest prosthetics and £300 million will be invested in a new world-class rehabilitation facility at Stanford Hall that will be 4 times the size of Headley Court and improve and advance the cutting-edge treatments already available to injured troops.
We have also extended support for up to six months after discharge from the military and have also integrated mental health assessments with routine medicals so if someone is suffering from problems they are detected and treated earlier.