Armed Forces Covenant – welcome changes

Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie has welcomed the Government enshrining the Armed Forces Covenant into law, telling parliament that the move is needed to stop service personnel and veterans from being disadvantaged.

Speaking during the Armed Forces Bill debate, Virginia told MPs the covenant has been in operation for ten years as a pledge but it was time there was a legal duty on relevant bodies to recognise the specific needs and to fairly treat those who have served their country and their families.

“Individual members of the armed forces community still suffer disadvantage when accessing public services. This is often because of a lack of awareness of not just the covenant but the unique contributions that our service personnel make,” Virginia told the House of Commons.

“The Bill will impose a legal duty on relevant bodies to have due regard to the three principles of the covenant.”

Virginia told Parliament she came from a service family as her grandparents met in the RAF.

She is a regular visitor to RAF Valley on Anglesey and a member of the RAF section of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme.

“I understand that going into the armed forces is a unique career choice. People hand themselves and their family over to the service of their country, with all that that entails,” she explained.

“I represent both civilian and service constituents and their concerns are my concerns. RAF Valley is one of the largest employers on Ynys Môn and I am consistently pushing very strongly, both informally and formally, how important these skilled jobs are in my constituency.

“Indeed, I had a meeting today with the Minister for Defence Procurement, which included an invitation to visit RAF Valley over the summer.

“The station is as much part of Anglesey life as Anglesey life is part of the station, so my message today is this: when people think of the Armed Forces Covenant, they should not think only of the contribution that our forces make to our national security; they should remember also the huge contribution that they make to our everyday life.

“It is a thank you for all that our armed forces do, and I take this opportunity to say personally diolch yn fawr – thank you – to RAF Valley for all that it does.

“I am proud that this Government is enshrining the armed forces covenant in legislation, so that our service personnel and their families receive the recognition that they deserve for their courage and years of commitment to us.”

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