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MPs call for more housing and healthcare support for veterans

Welsh service personnel may risk and sometimes even lose their lives in service of their country. But a new report tonight warns that they are still not getting the support they need when they return to civilian life.

MPs on the Welsh Affairs Committee say more needs to be done for them in the key areas of housing and health.

Our correspondent Joanna Simpson has tonight's top story.

MPs urge more housing and healthcare support for veterans

Public bodies need to do more to support armed forces veterans in Wales, according to a group of MPs.

The Welsh Affairs Committee report says housing and healthcare are key areas where there are problems.

"I had no actual record of injuries and any other ongoing things that were wrong with me" says Northern Ireland veteran Paul Harding.

"So, from that point of view there was no help whatsoever."

"When it came to housing I went to the council and they said we realise you're a veteran but that doesn't mean anything to us. You'll get a house when you get a house"

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David Davies: 'more councils should sign military covenant'

"I think there are problems, and I think they've come about through rather inadvertent policies" says David Davies MP, who chairs the Welsh Affairs select committee.

"I think local authorities have quite rightly said we need to have people with a local connection before we allocate social housing.

"But those rules have had the unintended consequence of affecting members of the armed forces who may have been born and brought up in an area, but spent the last ten years serving their country".

"A lot of a local authorities have signed up to the armed forces covenant, which means people working within those authorities are aware of those issues".

Housing group: number of homeless veterans "unacceptable"

We welcome this report, but don’t think it goes far enough. Wales accounts for 5% of the UK population yet it provides 8% of UK military personnel.

It is unacceptable that a significant number of our veterans face homelessness. Waiting list for social housing in Wales are continuing to grow and we need to build more affordable homes in order to address this.

One of the barriers is availability of land and we are today calling on the Ministry of Defence to engage with the sector to draw up a memorandum of understanding, so that where suitable sites become available, we can develop social housing to help alleviate the problem.

– Nick Bennett, Community Housing Cymru

'One-stop shops' for veterans could help

One of the key recommendations from the report is the establishment of 'one-stop-shops' that would help provide veterans with information and support when they return to civilian life.

We should not be making it harder for people who have served their country in the ultimate way - putting their lives on the line - to access the services and support they need and deserve. For the same reasons, we must ensure that all services, no matter who is providing them, are provided efficiently and to the highest standard.

– David Davies MP, Chair of the Committee

The Welsh Government says it welcomes the report.

The Welsh Government is already making progress in delivering real improvements on the issues raised in the report. It is important that this continues and that those who have served their country do not suffer any disadvantage when they access public services.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

We 'must do more' to support Armed Forces veterans in Wales

Veterans 'struggle to obtain information about services' Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A report says that Armed Forces veterans in Wales need more help, particularly with housing and accessing health services, when they return to civilian life.

The Welsh Affairs select committee also says that charities providing treatments for mental health problems for a significant minority of military personnel may not meet stringent guidelines.

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