Posted: Thu 17th Mar 2022

Welsh Government urged to work with Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales to ensure proper support for Ex-Forces community

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 17th, 2022

A Flintshire based Senedd member has called on the Welsh Government to work with the recently appointed Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales to ensure that ex-forces personnel receive the support they need, and that the Armed Forces Covenant in Wales is upheld. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Colonel James Phillips has been appointed to the role Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

His appointment will “build on the success of counterpart roles in Scotland and Northern Ireland and will mean that all devolved nations have a Veterans’ Commissioner.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Colonel Phillips will be working to enhance the support for veterans in Wales, as well as scrutinising and advising on government policy for veterans. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He has just completed his own transition to civilian life after 33 years in the Army. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Colonel Phillips has served in Germany, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Leading Wednesday afternoon’s Welsh Conservative debate on ‘The Armed Forces’, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Social Justice, Mark Isherwood MS highlighted the need for an independent review of the Covenant’s progress and delivery across the whole of Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

He said: “I led a short debate here in January 2008 supporting the Royal British Legion’s ‘Honour the Covenant’ Campaign, concluding that this must be fought until it is won– and welcomed the publication of the Armed Forces Covenant in May 2011, introducing a statutory duty from 2012 to lay before UK Parliament an annual report which considers the effects of service on Regulars and Reservists, veterans, their families and the bereaved – and to also examine areas of potential disadvantage and the need for special provision where appropriate. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The Welsh Government and all Local Authorities in Wales signed the Covenant and subscribed to work with partner organisations to uphold its principles. However, although all 22 Local Authorities have in place an Armed Forces Community Covenant, requiring them to have elected Member Armed Forces Champions, more is needed. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Despite the stated commitment of local authorities and the Welsh NHS to deliver as many tailored services as they can to the Armed Forces, my casework – and no doubt that of other Members – provides evidence that this does not go far enough.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Isherwood, who called for an independent review of progress and delivery across Wales in the Senedd in both 2017 and 2018, added: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Our motion today calls on this Welsh Parliament to state that the Welsh Government’s Armed Forces Covenant annual reports should be considered by an appropriate Senedd Committee, to ensure that Ex-forces personnel and their families in Wales are being properly supported.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Welcoming the appointment of the new Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales and emphasising the need for Labour Welsh Government Ministers to work with him, Mr Isherwood, who first led a debate in the Senedd calling on the Welsh Government to establish an Armed Forces Commissioner 8 years ago. said: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Speaking here last November, I therefore welcomed the announcement in the UK Autumn Budget of “The establishment of a Veterans Commissioner for Wales, who will work to improve the lives and opportunities of the Welsh veterans’ community, recognising their contribution to UK Armed Forces”. I was then delighted to welcome the UK Government appointment of Colonel James Phillips as the first Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales on St David’s Day this year. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I stated “this new role will help ensure that no veteran will be left without appropriate support, and we wish Colonel Phillips all the best in his new job and look forward to working with him” – adding: “It is vital that Labour Welsh Government Ministers work hand-in-hand with the Commissioner as many of the services our Armed Forces community rely on are devolved to Wales.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“I therefore hope that the Welsh Government will support our motion today, which also asks this Welsh Parliament to “welcome the appointment of Colonel James Phillips as the first Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales” and to “call on the Welsh Government to work with the Veterans’ Commissioner and the UK Government to ensure that the Armed Forces Covenant is upheld in Wales.”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Speaking following the appointment of Colonel James Phillips to the role Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, and Delyn MS Hannah Blythyn said: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Wales provides a wide range of support for veterans – from NHS Veterans Wales to our Armed Forces Liaison Officers – and we are committed to working with stakeholders to supporting all those who have served.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales is a UK Government appointment. We look forward to working with Colonel James Phillips as part of our commitment to veterans across Wales.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com

Latest News

  • Ela’s Moel Famau challenge to raise funds for dream tour of India with Wales U18 cricket squad
  • Wrexham Maelor A&E, long waits and overcrowding putting patients at risk, inspection finds
  • Deeside politician welcomes Ofgem’s decision to stop energy firms forced meter installations

  • More...

    Ela’s Moel Famau challenge to raise funds for dream tour of India with Wales U18 cricket squad

    News

    Wrexham Maelor A&E, long waits and overcrowding putting patients at risk, inspection finds

    News

    Deeside politician welcomes Ofgem’s decision to stop energy firms forced meter installations

    News

    Flintshire County Council Chair takes on 125-mile Coastal Path challenge to raise funds for three worthy causes

    News

    Working parents in Flintshire urged not to miss out on up to £2,000 for childcare costs

    News

    “I can no longer afford to socialise”: an estimated 2.3 million households missed payments in January

    News