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Armed Forces Covenant

Part of Bombardier – in the House of Commons at 12:13 pm on 22nd November 2018.

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Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence 12:13 pm, 22nd November 2018

I absolutely agree with the hon. Gentleman. We have introduced the Samaritans handbook to provide the necessary support for all serving personnel and that is being rolled out to veterans. I am concerned about this issue, which has taken a higher profile in social media and elsewhere. Whether it is perceived or otherwise, it is important that we do not shy away from our responsibility to help those veterans who may feel that they have gone into a very dark place. I touched on the 24/7 helpline, but there is also the cross-Whitehall veteran’s board that allows us to hold to account other Departments that need to upgrade their support for veterans and their families, as well as the armed forces. It is still in its infancy, and it still needs to get stronger and sharper in holding other Departments to account—I am sure we will debate that further this afternoon. However, I am pleased that the board is in place, and doing good work to encourage and wake up other Departments to their direct responsibilities, which are separate from those of the Ministry of Defence.