Veterans Care Sector: Government Role

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:27 pm on 25th October 2016.

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Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence 6:27 pm, 25th October 2016

To a degree, this goes back to the principle of the armed forces covenant, which is really an agreement between the nation as a whole and our veterans. I would hate to think that we had moved to a position where we were in effect delegating this responsibility to a single Department and allowing others to feel that it somehow was not their responsibility to play a role in supporting our veterans.

The current system, whereby responsibility for veterans is cross-government, is positive. Yes, more should be done to ensure that all are playing their part, but on balance I agree with my hon. Friend that a dedicated veterans Department would be a retrograde step. We need not look too far, when looking at things across the Atlantic, to see some of the problems there. They are not simply financial; the very complex way in which care is given to veterans can be diluted. We also have the advantage of the national health service, which is a very comprehensive health service. That is a very good medium for supporting our veterans.