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Volume 639: debated on Monday 23 April 2018

3. What recent discussions he has had with military charities on improving support for veterans throughout the UK. (904861)

As we mark 100 years since the end of world war one, it is appropriate once again to underline our appreciation of the charities that support the armed forces community. You will be aware, Mr Speaker, that many household names such as the Royal British Legion, Blesma, Combat Stress and SSAFA were formed around that time to look after the thousands of injured returning to Britain. I meet and engage with charities weekly, as does the Secretary of State, who last week visited Tedworth House, the excellent recovery centre run by Help for Heroes.

The Royal British Legion plays a key role in supporting our veterans, including on Armed Forces Day, when we celebrate their role across the country. Will the Minister join me in congratulating the Royal British Legion on its work, and will he visit the Havant branch when his diary allows?

How could I refuse such an invitation? I should be delighted to do so. May I underline my hon. Friend’s support for Armed Forces Day? I hope all hon. Members will consider what they can do in their area for that important event.

May I associate my party with the wonderful news shared by Baron and Baroness Carrickfergus?

The Minister should know that the Defence Committee is looking at the support available for serving and former personnel. Does he recognise the geographical difficulties and legacy of security concerns that affect veterans who live in Northern Ireland?

When I had the pleasure of attending the Defence Committee, I was able to discuss those matters. I also had the pleasure of visiting Belfast, where the hon. Gentleman will know that I took a look at what support needs to be provided and furthered to deal with the particular situation there. I hope that that will be ongoing, and that the Secretary of State or I can visit in the near future.

May I ask the Ministry of Defence to give more support to Care After Combat, the excellent charity that goes into prisons and helps people who have been much affected by combat?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising the importance of working with those who are in prison. COBSEO, the confederation that looks after all the armed forces charities, is bringing together clusters of support in the justice sector. I met those charities, and we are seeing what more we can do to provide support for people who are in prison.

The Government’s disgraceful treatment of the Windrush generation has caused deep anxiety and distress to those who have emigrated from Commonwealth countries and served in our armed forces. It cannot be right that veterans who fought for this country are now frightened that they could be deported due to the callous immigration policy that the Prime Minister has spearheaded, so will the Minister outline what concrete action the Ministry of Defence is taking to help to rectify this scandalous state of affairs?

The hon. Gentleman makes an interesting observation. The Government have apologised, and will continue to apologise, to those affected by the current situation. A taskforce has been set up in the Home Office to deal with it and, as I said at the weekend, we apologise for what we have done. I hope that previous successive Governments will do the same, because it was a collective effort whereby bureaucracy got in the way and did not look after those people, who are very much Britons and should be allowed to continue to live here. If any veterans are affected, I would be more than delighted to look into the situation and make sure that we underline our support for those people, who are very much British citizens.