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National Recognition Study

Volume 476: debated on Monday 19 May 2008

I wish to acknowledge the publication today of the report of the independent inquiry into the national recognition of the armed forces carried out by my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stafford (Mr Quentin Davies). My hon. Friend was invited by the Government last December to examine ways of improving the nation’s understanding and appreciation of the Armed Forces.

The Government warmly welcome this report which is both comprehensive in its coverage, and is based on extensive consultation including with members of the royal family and both Houses of Parliament, devolved Assemblies, civic leaders, serving and retired military personnel, Armed Forces support organisations and charities, religious leaders, business and the media.

The report makes many recommendations. Many of these will require detailed consideration or further work. But I am pleased to announce that the Government accept immediately a number of them and these will be implemented as soon as possible. They include greater encouragement on the wider use of uniforms in public, the creation of a British Armed Forces And Veterans’ day, more systematic arrangements for homecoming parades and ceremonies for the award of campaign medals and veterans’ badges, and an examination of the options to strengthen cadet forces and on other education-related measures. The Government will engage with other organisations on those recommendations that are beyond the sole responsibility of Government—for example, on the proposals to improve relations with Parliament, local government, the business community and the media. We will be responding fully to all the recommendations as soon as possible.

I am very grateful to my hon. Friend and his team—Mr Bill Clark and Air Commodore Martin Sharpe from the Ministry of Defence—for producing this report. It provides firm foundations to ensure that the work of our service personnel is better understood and recognised by the nation they serve.

Copies of the report are being placed in the Library of the House, the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office.