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Lib Dems urge better deal for the armed forces

December 11, 2007 9:00 PM

Picture of British Royal MarinesAndrew Simpson, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Northampton North, is calling on the Government to renew the Military Covenant and improve the treatment received by the armed forces.

This follows the publication by the Liberal Democrats of 'Our Nation's Duty', an action plan for improving armed forces welfare, including the upgrading of service accommodation and improved medical care and counselling.

Andrew Simpson said:

"For decades British governments, both Labour and Conservative, have failed to invest in fair treatment for our troops and they are at breaking point. Poor quality accommodation, inadequate care, and critical overstretch are just some of the ways they are being let down.

"As Chancellor, Gordon Brown cut the armed forces' accommodation budget. Then as Prime Minister he went to Iraq for a photo opportunity with troops and announced what turned out to be 'phantom' troop withdrawals. No wonder they think he just doesn't care.

"The last Conservative Government is also to blame for the shoddy housing, faulty equipment and inadequate medical care that our troops deal with.

"The Liberal Democrats believe the time has come for us to have a new military covenant that ensures politicians honour their debt to the armed forces.

"The members of our armed forces give their utmost to their country and are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. There is no excuse for being cheap when dealing with their welfare.

"We have a duty of care to all our servicemen and women who show bravery and courage in adversity and risk the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

"The Liberal Democrats have forced a debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday on armed forces welfare. I have written to Northampton MPs, Sally Keeble and Brian Binley urging them to back the Liberal Democrats when our proposals are put to the vote."

The Liberal Democrat action plan includes -

• A new Strategic Defence Review that takes account of the new international situation

• An assurance from politicians that the armed forces will not intervene without providing necessary resources, manpower and equipment that ensures our personnel are secure in the commitment

• A parliamentary committee to conduct an annual review of the state of the covenant

• A ring-fenced budget for welfare and accommodation within the Defence Budget

• Improved medical care and counselling for troops returning from service

• Further funding to allow all armed forces accommodation to be assessed at the highest standard

Ends.

Note

Our Nation's Duty is available on the Liberal Democrat website: http://www.libdems.org.uk/media/documents/parliament/Our_Nations_Duty_Dec07.pdf

Copy of e-mail sent to Brian Binley & Sally Keeble

Dear Sally/Brian,

I am writing to urge you to support the Liberal Democrat motion on the military covenant which will be debated and voted on in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

I hope you will agree that we have a duty of care to all our servicemen and women who show bravery and courage in adversity and risk the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

So far they have been failed by successive governments who have not met their obligations and are to blame for poor quality accommodation, inadequate care, and critical overstretch.

It is time to renew the Military Covenant and improve the treatment received by the armed forces.

I very much hope you will support the Liberal Democrat motion on Wednesday.

In view of the public interest in this issue I am copying this letter to the local media.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Simpson