Office for Veterans’ Affairs

Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 25th March 2021.

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Photo of Fay Jones Fay Jones Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

What recent steps the Office for Veterans’ Affairs has taken to promote the interests of veterans.

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

I am incredibly proud of the work of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, which has fundamentally shifted the dial when it comes to looking after our veterans in this country. Whether it is the guaranteed interview scheme, the £10 million mental health care pathway that we established last week, veterans’ railcards or national insurance contribution holidays, we are making slow and irreversible progress in this domain, and we will continue to do so under this Government.

Photo of Fay Jones Fay Jones Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

I am enormously grateful to the Minister for his work with the Secretary of State for Wales to create a veterans’ commissioner for Wales. With so many veterans in and around Brecon, this would recognise the circumstances faced by Welsh veterans where services such as healthcare and education are controlled at a devolved level. Will the Minister confirm that work to create the post is under way at pace and that the postholder will work across both Welsh and UK Governments to ensure that all hurdles for Welsh veterans can be overcome?

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

I pay huge tribute to my hon. Friend for campaigning so energetically on this issue. Veterans’ commissioners are incredibly important across the country. There is no doubt that in some areas there is excellent veterans’ care, and in other places not so much. What this Government are absolutely committed to is levelling up that experience as a veteran across the UK. We have a veterans’ commissioner in Scotland, and in Northern Ireland for the first time. I am delighted that the Welsh Government are working with us on this. We will deliver it so that the whole United Kingdom becomes the best place in the world in which to be an armed forces veteran.