Our superb Armed Forces are respected the world over. That is entirely due to the courage, determination, and expertise of the men and women who serve this country in uniform.
We owe our military our security and freedom. This debt of gratitude is even heavier when it comes to veterans, who were ready to give their lives for this country. I have campaigned extensively for these brave men and women to receive the recognition, care, and post-service security they deserve.
My campaign took various forms:
- As a member of the Armed Forces Bill Committee;
- As a cadet, and later graduate, of the Parliamentary Armed Forces Scheme, which encompassed a fair amount of strenuous training;
- As a Member of Parliament, standing up for veterans in my constituency, lobbying local services to take their individual cases into account, such as Blue Badge applications;
- As a Member of Parliament, through discussions with colleagues and the relevant Ministers and departments.
I wanted to see improvements to post-service care, particularly:
- A Veterans' Railcard to give former military personnel the affordable mobility they deserve;
- Protections from repeated unfounded investigations;
- Better employment opportunities that engage the unique skill sets that veterans have;
- A guaranteed interview scheme;
- Comprehensive support when making the transition from the military to the civilian life.
I was delighted to welcome this Government's strong commitment to better care for our veterans, materialised in the new, and long overdue, Office for Veterans' Affairs. I recently hailed a series of encouraging announcements from the Office, most notably:
- the unveiling of Veterans' Railcards, which will start to be issued on Armistice Day 2020;
- the launch of the guaranteed interview scheme for veterans applying for public sector positions;
- the publication of the Government's Response to the Strategy for our Veterans Consultation.