£2m stress payouts for troops are 'tip of iceberg'

More than £2m has been paid in compensation to British troops who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq.

The £2.3m payment is on top of £6.1m in compensation for the 179 servicemen killed and the hundreds injured since the 2003 invasion.

The Ministry of Defence figures were revealed after a request by The Independent under the Freedom of Information Act. Campaigners for veterans warned that the payments for mental health problems could be "the tip of the iceberg" as former members of the armed forces often do not seek help for several years.

Campaign groups warned that a similar flood of claims could follow from Afghanistan, where 325 UK servicemen have been killed since 2001. So far, only £317,000 in compensation has been paid for servicemen in Afghanistan, but many claims are thought to be in the pipeline.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats and a prominent critic of the Iraq war, said yesterday: "No matter how generous financial compensation is, money can never compensate for physical injury or mental distress. These figures, which will undoubtedly see a substantial increase in future years, tell a story of how traumatic service in intense conflict can be."

Combat Stress, the charity specialising in the care of veterans' mental health, said it takes former service personnel an average of more than 14 years after they have left the services to approach it for help. It has a current caseload of more than 4,300 ex-servicemen and women, including 400 who served in Iraq and 102 in Afghanistan.

Of those taken on by Combat Stress as clinical cases since 2005, 75 per cent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Of these, 62 per cent have depression and alcohol problems.

According to the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency, which replied to the freedom of information request, compensation payments for dead and injured servicemen in Iraq peaked at £2.5m in 2005-06.

In addition to the common law compensation payments, the armed forces pension scheme made one-off payments totalling £14m in the last five years to the families of those killed in action. A further £9.5m in continuing payments has been made to the dependants of dead servicemen in the same period, although some related to those killed in other ways, such as road accidents.

The cost of the Afghan and Iraq wars to Britain has exceeded £20bn including fighting, diplomacy and reconstruction, according to official figures.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Sales Advisor - OTE 18k-23k

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of Ford's leading Parts Who...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to learn ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Lead

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading providers of w...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders