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 Gerald Howarth Gerald Howarth Shadow Minister (Defence) 10:45 am, 26th February 2004

I said at the outset that the new clauses were probing. I am grateful to the Minister for his response and for agreeing to keep us posted on his progress on securing agreement with the national health service on the prioritisation of ex-servicemen. It has often been said that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has a close and comprehensive interest in the well-being of its veterans and that we do not have a similar organisation because we have a national health service, which the United States does not have. However, I think that the Minister has recognised the concerns and I will be grateful if keeps us posted of progress.

I am also grateful to the Minister for keeping me informed about Combat Stress. I have a particularly strong affinity with that organisation; it does such fantastic work. I want to know that its funding from the Ministry of Defence is assured. As for the detail and the extent to which statutory instrument 1983/883 applies, to avoid detaining the Committee I propose to consult further in the light of what the Minister said. We shall have a look through it at leisure and if questions arise from the Royal British Legion or other groups, we can ask them on Report. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.