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Former Armed Forces Personnel

Volume 630: debated on Monday 23 October 2017

The Ministry of Defence holds personal information on former armed forces personnel for lawful defence and security purposes. Information is held if the individual is receiving an armed forces occupational pension, has made a claim for compensation, or is being provided with welfare assistance. The MOD is determined to ensure that veterans who require help are provided with appropriate support through the Veterans UK helpline and website, the welfare service and the veterans information service.

The help has not been available to my constituent Mr Joseph Palmer, who has lived in the UK since he was three. He served our country as a regular in the Army between 2008 and 2014, and served in Afghanistan. The only place that holds his records is the MOD, because the immigration and visa service has lost his details and his documents. Will the Minister work with me to ensure that my constituent can remain in and work in the UK?

Will the Minister assure me that medical records of former personnel are accurately passed to general practitioners? It is a long time ago now, but mine were not, and there was no record of my being badly hurt and spending six months in hospital. My general practitioner was amazed.

My hon. Friend makes a valid point. It is important that we get these things right. As those who have served in the armed forces depart, we need to make sure that we provide the service that veterans deserve.

22. One of the ways in which the Minister could ensure better information is stored is through the national census. The Office for National Statistics said last week that former armed forces personnel should be included as a new question on the census. What is his response to the ONS? (901321)

I am delighted to say that I am very supportive of that. The more information we have to help us understand who veterans are—whether through a veterans identity card; through changing the driving licence so that it has a symbol to show that people are veterans, which we are looking at with the Secretary of State; or, indeed, by showing that on GP records—the more we can support veterans, and that is the direction of travel in which we should go.