Office for Veterans’ Affairs

Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons at on 17 December 2020.

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Photo of Duncan Baker Duncan Baker Conservative, North Norfolk

What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs has fundamentally changed this country’s offer to our veterans, pulling together all functions of Government to really understand the veterans’ experience in this country. Briefly, I would like to pay tribute to all my colleagues who have supported us in that endeavour this year, particularly in this most difficult of years, during which I am confident that we have changed more than ever as we try to do our duty by those who have served.

Photo of Duncan Baker Duncan Baker Conservative, North Norfolk

I thank my hon. Friend for what he is doing for veterans. Service leavers since 8 January this year will have been given their veterans ID cards to mark their time in the armed forces, but will veterans who left before December 2018 still be able to apply for their card by the end of 2020? Will he update the House about those veterans who are looking forward to getting their card?

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. The veterans ID card is an important policy that this Government have brought forward. He is absolutely right that those who leave now will get an ID card. What we have struggled with is the verification of those who have served. The military, unfortunately, has been dealing with paper records for a number of years. That is changing, with the significant investments that we have funnelled into organisations such as Veterans UK. The ambition is to deliver this project once we have got to a place where we can prevent fraud and similar things, so that every veteran who has served gets their veterans ID card and is recognised in the way that this Prime Minister would want.