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Armed Forces Welfare

Volume 612: debated on Monday 27 June 2016

In January, the Department published the first ever armed forces families strategy, embracing seven key themes—partner employment, accommodation, children’s education and childcare, community support, specialist support, health and wellbeing, and transition. We have reviewed our casualty and compassionate processes, and this autumn we are introducing a pilot for a new welfare scheme for reservists. We continue to work to ensure that our armed forces and their families are treated fairly through the covenant.

Economic and military security assurances, as laid out in the strategic defence and security review, have been significantly weakened by the events of the last week, and this could not have come at a worse time for armed forces personnel. To give just two examples—

Order. I am awfully sorry, but we have not got time for two examples. I need a single, short supplementary question, with a question mark at the end.

The armed forces satisfaction survey has caused considerable concern in this regard. Does the Minister agree that the continuing welfare of our personnel should be the priority at this tumultuous time?

The short answer is yes. The huge number of local authorities, companies and other parts of the nation that have signed up to the armed forces covenant shows that the country as a whole is responding with a resounding yes.

17. I have been working with Neath veterans support group to ensure that those leaving the armed forces receive the support they need. Will the Minister explain what his Government are doing to extend the support offered, through projects such as Change Step, so that the welfare of serving personnel is viewed through a model of prevention, rather than of cure? (905489)

I am grateful to a whole range of charities in Neath and other areas for the work they are doing with the armed forces. We are giving considerable priority to this and to ensuring that people’s transition, which is one of the seven aspects of the strategy I have mentioned, is successful. From the stories one hears of companies that have signed covenants successfully taking on people for new careers after they leave the armed forces and of the work we are doing with local authorities on housing, I can say that all this work is bearing fruit.