Christmas Island veterans to meet ministers

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ARMY veterans exposed to radiation during British nuclear bomb tests are set to meet Scottish Government ministers today to update them on a landmark court ruling that could pave the way for compensation.

A campaign group believes thousands of servicemen were harmed during atomic testing off Christmas Island in the 1950s and 1960s and is leading the charge for compensation.

They say many of the affected servicemen are now seriously ill through radiation and survivors are now dying at a rate of around three a month.

Last month the Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – gave veterans permission to further argue their right to seek damages at an Appeal Court.

More than 70 of the claimants are based in Scotland and the group will meet with Minister for Veterans, Keith Brown MSP.

A spokesman said: “We are now engaged in a long legal battle with the Ministry of Defence which started in 2004 and is likely to drag on for years to come. But we and our families cannot afford to wait that long – many of us will die in the next three years alone.

“We want the MoD to recognise the sacrifice we made and reach a settlement without recourse to a long and costly High Court battle – legal fees will stretch into tens of millions of pounds, money which, instead, could be used to compensate the veterans.”