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RETROSPECTIVE payments for veterans who left the military before 1975 would cost billions of pounds.

Defence minister Anna Soubry told MPs no costings had been carried out to determine how much money would be needed to compensate 250,000 veterans affected.

The Social Security Act of 1975 meant those who served for at least two years after April are entitled to a preserved pension.

Those who left before this, having completed less than 22 years for other ranks or 16 years for commissioned officers, receive no pension.