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Veterans Strategy

Volume 706: debated on Monday 10 January 2022

Since the veterans strategy was published in 2018, we have been delivering for our veterans, including Op Courage in the NHS to support veterans with their mental health, the veterans’ railcard, and a national insurance holiday for those employing veterans. We continue to drive forward that agenda, with our publication soon of a veterans strategy update, which will recognise what a fantastic asset our veterans are.

In north Staffordshire we are very proud to house the Tri Services and Veterans Support Centre led by Geoff Harriman and supported by John Painter and Kathy Munslow, all of whom served themselves and do a range of work to support our local veterans—for example, the new veterans’ retreat set up in Kidsgrove parish, bringing veterans together to take part in archery, construction and even bee-keeping. I want to personally thank Ron Jeffries, a local businessman who kindly donated some of his land for this vision to become a reality. Will my hon. Friend therefore applaud the work of Geoff, John, Kathy and Ron in supporting our veterans and commit to visiting later this year to show us his skills in the field?

I would be delighted to learn about the work of those people in the parish of Kidsgrove—it sounds fantastic. I absolutely join my hon. Friend to thank Geoff Harriman, John Painter, Kathy Munslow and Ron Jeffries for their military service and all they continue to do for veterans in the community. I also thank my hon. Friend for the work he does to support our armed forces personnel. If possible, I would be delighted to visit.

Last month the President of the United States signed off the National Defense Authorization Act, which will ensure that US atomic veterans receive a medal and an official day of recognition for their service. Does the Minister agree that it is time to end the UK’s shameful position as the only country not to provide official recognition or compensation for nuclear veterans, and to mark the 70th anniversary of Britain’s first nuclear test by finally rewarding our courageous nuclear veterans with the medals they so highly deserve?

We will keep this under review but we regard it as a matter for the advisory military sub-committee on medallic recognition.