Appearing before members of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, Welsh Secretary David Jones dismissed as 'speculative' reports which hinted at an imminent response from the UK Government's to the Silk Commission. But he said agreement is close.
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.
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"
"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".
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.
– Nick Bennett, Community Housing Cymru
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.
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.
– David Davies MP, Chair of the Committee
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.
The Welsh Government says it welcomes the report.
– Welsh Government spokesperson
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.
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.
Monmouth MP David Davies, who chairs the Commons' Welsh Affairs committee, has written to the Defence Secretary over the way the Welsh army has been affected by Army cuts. In particular he raises concerns about the decision to axe a battalion of the Royal Welsh.
In his letter, Mr Davies tells the Defence Secretary, Phillip Hammond that he and MPs on the committee want answers to the following concerns.
In evidence to the Committee on this issue, an independent defence expert told us that, based on proportionality, cost and recruitment considerations, it would be more advisable to cut several battalions of the Scottish regiments and the Gurkhas.
We heard that 98% of the Royal Welsh is drawn from within Wales, and in many families service to the regiment has continued for many generations.
We believe that the impact on families and communities across Wales, as well as on morale in the regiments more widely, will be enormous.
We are concerned that the decision to cut a Welsh battalion may be at least partly politically motivated. Scottish regiments have found it difficult to recruit in recent years, and the decision to maintain all five Scottish infantry regiments, albeit with one performing ceremonial duties, suggests preferential treatment. We seek assurances that this is not the case.
We are also concerned that the statement regarding the loss of 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh did not provide greater clarity for the serving men and women. We seek clarification on how many of them will be ‘absorbed’ into the 1st Battalion and how many will be made redundant. In a time of high unemployment, all possible assistance must be provided to enable former servicemen and women to seek employment after the armed forces. They currently face a great deal of uncertainty regarding their future.
Defence Ministers have refused to appear before Welsh MPs looking into the MOD's plans for the future of the Army. As we reported a couple of weeks ago, Welsh Affairs committee chair David Davies had said he wanted ministers to explain their thinking about plans for the Welsh Cavalry:
Given our concerns, we have decided to do a short inquiry into this. We’ve asked the Ministry of Defence to come and give evidence and explain how these decisions will be taken. I understand they don’t wish to attend, which I find very disappointing.
However it nows seems the announcement itself will be made on Thursday, which might explain the ministers' reluctance to appear. It's also thought that the Welsh Cavalry will survive the cuts but it's strongly rumoured that a battalion of the Royal Welsh regiment could be lost instead.