The Ministry of Defence is working to raise awareness of financial issues and planning among service personnel across all three services, because we recognise that financial literacy is a critical life skill.
In October 2019, Danny Butcher, a former soldier and the brother of my constituent, Carrie Jones, sadly took his own life after getting involved in an online money-making scheme that plunged him into debt. He was by all accounts an outstanding member of society. He had toured overseas during his time in the British Army and was mentioned by his commanding officer in dispatches, yet after leaving the armed forces he was lured in by a property scheme that offered those involved the chance to get rich quickly.
Following a surgery with Ms Jones, I had the pleasure of discussing with the previous Minister for Defence People and Veterans, my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Moor View (Johnny Mercer), what could be done to provide members of the armed services who are about to be discharged with some financial education, the objective being for them not to be tricked by unscrupulous money-making schemes. In light of Danny Butcher’s death, what steps is the Minister’s Department currently taking to ensure that all those departing the forces have adequate financial literacy skills, so that they know how to spend their money wisely and become integrated fully in civilian life?
My thoughts are with the family of Danny Butcher. Every veteran suicide is an absolute tragedy and we must seek to learn lessons from this. We are working to ensure that all service leavers have adequate financial educational awareness, and we want to ensure that is the case across all three services, specifically with regard to debt, household financial management and mortgages. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this important subject today.