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NEW Office for Veterans' Affairs

The Prime Minister has announced the move which he says will provide lifelong support for veterans.

The new office for Veterans' Affairs will work with Whitehall departments, local authorities and charities to deliver joined-up support for former service personnel. 

It will coordinate and drive government policy on veterans’ welfare.

The Wave and Swansea Sound has been lobbying for almost two years for more support for veterans in Wales.

The Welsh Government says the Westminster announcement won't directly affect Wales but that it will continue to work closely with the MoD on the issue.

Two weeks ago we held a Veteran Network Day at the Liberty Stadium. Over 60 organisations, charities, employers, those working in health, policing and criminal justice system had stalls at the event. Wales' Armed Forces Minister Julie James and Swansea and Neath  Port Talbot Chief Superintendent Joanna Maal were among those who attended.

Our news team has also been covering the funding battle facing charities in Wales. Care after Combat helps veterans in the prison system. Its HQ is now in Swansea - with its North Wales office set to close.

Rob Nicholls is Wales manager for the charity and is welcoming the appointment of Johnny Mercer. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:  “The brave men and women who serve in our military truly represent the pinnacle of British character. We are rightly admired throughout the world for our Armed Forces, and it is a stain on our national conscience that any veteran who has served should be abandoned by the country they have fought so courageously to protect.  

“It is absolutely right that the government should do all it can to support our armed forces from the day they enlist and for the rest of their lives. Veterans have given so much to the UK. They have so much to offer our workplaces and wider society and it would be a dereliction of duty not to harness that potential.    

“By taking responsibility for the full gamut of veterans’ civilian lives – from ensuring they get the medical treatment they require, to further training and skills after they have transitioned from service to keep them in good jobs, to targeted interventions to prevent the scourge of veteran homelessness – Oliver Dowden, Johnny Mercer and our brand new Office for Veterans’ Affairs will do just that.”  

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:  “People join our armed forces prepared to give their lives in defence of their country. In return, government and society owe them a debt long after their service is finished. As a veteran myself, I know the struggles that some people face.  The Ministry of Defence welcomes the new Prime Minister’s appointment of the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Minister for Defence People and Veterans to ensure the needs of veterans are addressed right across government.”  

Minister for the Cabinet Office Oliver Dowden said:  "Our veterans have made extraordinary sacrifices for this country and it's only right that we repay their commitment with the right support and care when they leave service. I'm honoured to take on this role as a champion for veterans across government and will be a voice for their interests at the Cabinet table.  

“The new Office for Veterans’ Affairs will coordinate essential work being carried out across Departments to ensure our servicemen and servicewomen receive unparalleled support across all areas of life. From mental health to employment, this government will deliver the care our veterans deserve."  

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:  “For the first time in its history, the UK Government will have an Office for Veterans’ Affairs to pull together all functions of government to ensure that when our Armed Forces personnel leave service, they are looked after in the manner that they deserve.    

“I am delighted with this role, and am resolutely determined to reset this country’s relationship with her veterans. I entered parliament to do precisely this; I am grateful for the opportunity this Prime Minister has given me to do this, and I look forward to getting on with the task at hand.”

 

The Wave and Swansea Sound Veteran Network Event took place at the Liberty Stadium on July 19th. You can LISTEN to interviews from a variety of organisations who attended on the day here: https://www.thewave.co.uk/news/local/veteran-network-event/

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