Today in Parliament I was glad to have the opportunity to take part in a Westminster Hall debate on defence spending secured by Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP.
In my constituency, I represent RNAS Culdrose and I can't say enough just how valuable that base is to our area and the local community as well as being a vital source of skilled work and opportunity for young people.
We fully understand the value of our Armed Forces to defence of the realm and UK PLC but we need to look at the impact of poor maintenance where armed forces personnel live as well as improving standards of recruitment and retention.
As part of this work, the Government should prioritise retro-fitting of military accommodation and fund it outside of defence spending this could be as part of our commitment to meet net zero emissions.
The Government should ensure the working environment is equally improved and is made the best it can be. I welcome progress in this area including the multi-million spend on hangers and infrastructure at RNAS Culdrose
Finally, The ‘Armed Forces Community’ as defined in the Armed Forces Covenant includes the families of regular personnel, reservists and veterans, but not the Merchant Navy (MN) or Royal Fleet Auxiliary;
I asked the Minister to consider whether the modern threat facing the MN and modern role of the MN justifies the MN to be included in the Armed Forces Covenant.
Serving mums and dads can be away for the whole of the summer holiday and serving mums and dads can face aggressive and hostile action from pirates and people from hostile states causing distress for children at school. The support made available to armed forces families should be extended to these families.