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Armed Forces Veterans

Volume 748: debated on Thursday 25 April 2024

The Government continue to take unprecedented action to support those who served us: through Operation Fortitude, we are ending veterans’ rough sleeping; through Operation Restore and Operation Courage, we are supporting their health and wellbeing; and Operation Prosper is an employment pathway to help veterans secure high-value jobs. We are also planning to publish the UK’s first draft veterans Bill, representing another step forward in our journey to make this the best country in the world in which to be a veteran.

The Wincanton armed forces breakfast club, held at the Balsam centre in my constituency, offers veterans a place to catch up, where they can have peer support and enjoy a social, hearty breakfast. What efforts is the Minister making to support community-focused initiatives such as that for veterans across the UK?

I pay tribute to the Wincanton armed forces and veterans breakfast club. Like many breakfast clubs, including those in my own constituency, it does an amazing job bringing together veterans and tackling isolation and loneliness, particularly among the older generation. I encourage all Members of the House to visit. The clubs do not just happen, so I pay tribute to the volunteers and those who turn up every week to administrate them. Those people do not just talk a good game on veterans; they get in there, volunteer, spend their time and really care, so I pay tribute to all of them.

Today is Anzac Day, when we remember Australians and New Zealanders who gave so much. In an increasingly dangerous world, will my right hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to veterans in Australia, New Zealand, here in the UK and right across the Commonwealth, to whom we owe so much?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising the question. Anzac Day is an incredibly important day. I was in Australia only a few months ago. We are only as strong as our relationships with our allies. They have made an extraordinary contribution to world peace, particularly during the world wars. I pay tribute to veterans across the globe. It is not easy fighting wars, particularly wars of choice that are not global conflicts, and then coming back and reintegrating into society. Veterans can be incredibly proud of their service. People like me and my counterparts in Australia and elsewhere will continue to strive night and day to improve their lot in civil society when they return.