Defence Questions: 12th May 2014

Mr Jones
Supporting the small but significant group of veterans who leave the armed forces and then struggle in civvy street is of paramount important. The excellent Veterans Contact Point in my constituency provides support for such veterans in the Warwickshire area. What more can the Government do to support such excellent organisations, and will the Secretary of State or one of his team visit it?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Anna Soubry)
I think that my hon. Friend was trying to plug a visit, and he has done a good job, because I would be more than happy to go and see that organisation. Often it is those small, local charities that can deliver the best—I certainly have one in my constituency. We have made available millions upon millions of pounds in LIBOR funding for exactly those sorts of organisations to deliver those much-needed services.

Alison Seabeck (Plymouth, Moor View) (Lab)
Today’s report from Combat Stress flags up the increasing awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder and the increasing willingness of people to seek help earlier, which is a thoroughly good thing. The Combat Stress community outreach team provides those vital services and benefits from the existing funding, as the Minister has highlighted. Will she confirm that it is her intention that that level of funding will continue beyond the end of this financial year?

Anna Soubry
What I can say is that we have given £10 million of LIBOR funding, effectively in perpetuity, to support our excellent charities. Combat Stress, for example, has received £2.7 million from that, and the outreach team, which the hon. Lady mentioned, received £2 million. May I also make a correction? I think that earlier I said that about £7 million of LIBOR funding had gone into mental health, but it was actually £13 million. We also have many other measures to combat this very concerning condition.


David Rutley (Macclesfield) (Con)
T8. In the light of Sir John Holmes’ review, will the brave aircrew who were involved with bomber aircraft that were not part of Bomber Command but still flew sorties over Germany—such as my constituent, Theo Eaves, who was then based in southern Italy—be recognised with the Bomber Command class? [903975]

Anna Soubry
The entire nation should have enormous admiration and respect for the contributions made by our RAF crewmen during the second world war. Such matters are part of Sir John Holmes’s continuing military medals review, which is independent of the Ministry of Defence. He is aware that those who flew on bombing missions with other elements of the RAF outside Bomber Command have made a case for further recognition, and he is considering that as part of his review. I am told that he will report back shortly.

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab)
Further to Question 14, has the Minister had any discussions with her Commonwealth equivalents about enabling Commonwealth veterans to get to France for the D-day celebrations next month?

Anna Soubry
I personally have not, but I undertake to make full inquiries when I go back to the Ministry to see whether any of my officials have done so, and to write to the hon. Gentleman.