New clause 24 - Aftercare

Part of Armed Forces (Pensions and Compensation) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 26th February 2004.

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Photo of Mr Ivor Caplin Mr Ivor Caplin Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence 10:45 am, 26th February 2004

I understand why the hon. Gentleman wants clarification. Under our new arrangements, there will be no underpinning of charity

arrangements, which is why we are in discussions with Combat Stress, through the veterans secretariat, and officials about how to take the work forward. We recognise entirely the importance of its work and it is the main charity to be affected by the situation. I hope that he will accept that that is how we should progress. I am more than happy to share the conclusion of the discussions with him. They are not meant to be a great secret, but a process of negotiation.

The hon. Gentleman also referred to the homelessness and employment of veterans. That is part of our wider-ranging veterans initiative. It is cross-departmental so we will be working with the Department for Work and Pensions on employment and the Department of Health on mental health issues. We shall continue to work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the veterans and the heroes return initiative and the Department for Education and Skills on skills and employment. The veterans initiative is a cornerstone of our approach to veterans issues when working across the Government. On that basis, and given my explanations, I hope that we do not need to proceed further with new clauses 24 and 25.