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Armed Forces Covenant

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:57 pm on 2nd February 2017.

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Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Conservative, Berwick-upon-Tweed 4:57 pm, 2nd February 2017

I thank all colleagues who have spent their Thursday afternoon here in the Chamber rather than in Stoke-on-Trent or Copeland, and the Minister who has sat patiently listening to all of us as we share our praise and our criticism of the way in which the armed forces covenant is rolling out.

There must be something about Kent, because my hon. Friends the Members for Canterbury (Sir Julian Brazier) and for Tonbridge and Malling (Tom Tugendhat) are both passionate about housing. The fact that it is not just about the bricks is the critical point. I hope very much that the Minister and the Ministry of Defence will hear that message, because that is the families’ message to them. The model needs to be good and it needs to be 21st century, but it is not just about the bricks.

Many colleagues talked about the statute of limitations. I know that the Minister is working on that. If the outstanding work on the Iraq Historic Allegations Team of Johnny Mercer, who could not be with us today, can change the Ministry’s mind and drive forward some really good improvements, I hope very much that colleagues who have spoken today can push forward that statute of limitations and find a legal framework that can work.

The key to all matters to do with the covenant—the work that has been done over the past few years is extensive and very positive—is that unless our attempts at recruitment and retention succeed, we will not have the armed forces we need to take up the challenges that the world around us demands. Every decision that the Ministry makes cannot only be on cost-savings grounds. Value for money is about not cost saving, but about getting the right investment for our armed forces to ensure that we look after them and their families as they serve, and then for the rest of their lives.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered the Armed Forces Covenant Report 2016.