Ulster Unionist MLA and former soldier, Andy Allen MBE has welcomed the announcement of the establishment of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs to support military personnel.
Andy Allen MBE, MLA said:
“The announcement of a new dedicated Office for Veterans' Affairs to support military personnel is a welcome move by the Prime Minister.
“For too long there has been an attitude that military personnel leaving service become the problem of other departments, which has often lead to a sporadic and disjointed service. The Ulster Unionist Party has made clear to previous Ministers that this approach is wrong and the MOD need to take more responsibility.
“It is therefore encouraging that the Prime Minister has announced the new Office for Veterans’ Affairs to co-ordinate the work of Whitehall departments, local authorities and charities to address veterans' needs.
“I hope that this office does indeed take the responsibility required to ensure Government and the MOD meet their duty of care to those who serve or have served and their families.
“There is no denying many service charities are doing sterling work to support our service personnel, veterans and their families, for which they should be commended. They have vast experience and knowledge that should be utilised by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and Government to further improve support services for veterans.
“While the new office is welcome it is, however, imperative that it does not become a token gesture but actively works to ensure the best possible support is provided for those that require it and promotes the positive benefits those leaving service can offer to our workplaces and wider society.
“The Ulster Unionist Party has written to both Oliver Dowden MP, the Paymaster General, who has been appointed as the Minister representing veterans in Cabinet, and Johnny Mercer MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, to invite them to Northern Ireland to hear first-hand from veterans and their families to help better shape support for Northern Ireland veterans.”