UK Personnel: Local Support Services

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons on 8th July 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

What recent assessment she has made of the availability of local support services for service personnel based in the UK.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Every local authority has signed the armed forces covenant, and the MOD works with local authorities and partner organisations to ensure that there is fair access to local support services.

Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

MPs provide a valuable local service, not least for our military personnel, and I am grateful to Lieutenant Colonel Fraser McLeman and his team at Leuchars for the help that they have given me in that regard. The MOD recently sought to cancel one of my surgeries before the decision was overturned at the last minute. Will the Minister explain why there is a four-week wait following requests for surgeries by military families, and will he ensure that surgeries are cancelled only in exceptional circumstances—not least when they are held in local community facilities, where surgeries such as my own have been held in the past?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the tone in which he has raised this matter. He had the courtesy to raise it before questions. I should be delighted to meet him afterwards to see whether we can bring about some reconciliation, and make this work.