Opening the first ever international Veterans Summit at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon MP, announced an increase in death-in-service benefits under the current Armed Forces Pension Scheme. The Minister for Veteran's Affairs, Ivor Caplin MP, is hosting the event at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. Veterans Ministers and senior officials from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are attending the summit to share information and discuss various veterans' issues and ideas on best practice. Opening the summit on 14th March 2005, Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, said: "The UK Government takes veterans issues very seriously and is committed to working together with our international partners and the ex-service organisations to build on our understanding of these important issues. "It is my hope that we can learn more from each other with increased cooperation and communication in order to support our veterans more effectively." In his opening address, the Defence Secretary announced an increase in death-in-service benefits under the current Armed Forces Pension Scheme. The lump sum increases from up to 1.5 times pensionable pay now to 3 times pensionable pay for deaths on or after 6 April 2005. This is in addition to the normal pension benefits paid to dependents. Separately, an above inflation increase in the Widows' Supplementary Pension worth Â£4 million per year was also announced. The Armed Forces Pension Scheme death in service lump sum payment is to rise from a current maximum of 1.5 times pensionable pay to 3 times pensionable pay from 6 April 2005. Special arrangements are in place for those dying in-service between 6 April 2005 and 5 April 2006. In this case, the death benefits will be calculated on the better of the current and the new pension scheme arrangements, giving the best outcome for dependants. This is a transitional arrangement that recognises the fact that currently serving Armed Forces personnel will not be eligible for the improved death benefits offered by the new pension scheme until a year later than new entrants. Pre-1973 War Widows' Supplementary Pensions will increase by Â£2 a week from 6 April 2005. This above inflation increase is worth Â£4 million per annum. The supplementary pension is paid under the War Pensions Scheme to those whose Armed Forces spouse died before April 1973. It is paid in addition to the normal War Widows' pension. During the two-day summit the UK Veterans Minister, Ivor Caplin, will meet his counterparts from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to share ideas, information and best practice on veterans issues. Also speaking at the summit is UK Health Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman. Amongst the issues to be discussed at the summit, being held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, are veterans health, the transition to civilian life, the role of the voluntary sector and commemoration and education.