I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
Before turning to the detail of this important Bill for the armed forces, I must set out the wider context. The Government take their responsibilities to past, present and future service personnel very seriously. For the first time, for example, all veterans issues from right across government were pulled together under a single Minister when the Prime Minister created the post of Minister for Veterans as part of the veterans initiative in March 2001. We also strive to ensure that our current servicemen and women receive due recognition and reward for their outstanding achievements both at home and abroad. For the future, we intend to ensure that our people will have opportunities to enhance their skills and qualifications through their careers, and that pension and compensation arrangements are robust and fair.
The Bill will allow the Ministry of Defence to modernise pension and compensation arrangements for the armed forces. In developing the new schemes, the Ministry of Defence has consulted extensively with serving personnel and ex-service organisations. The new pension scheme will be introduced for new entrants from