Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish has today called on the Government to do more to help personnel, veterans and their families find work after they leave the Armed Forces. Gwynne’s comments follow the news that the Government will not fulfil one of its key veteran’s employment pledges.
In 2019, the Government announced plans to employ 100 specialist advisers – or ‘Armed Forces Champions’ – in job centres across the country. But Ministers now admit that just half that number will be hired.
The change means that there will be just one Armed Forces Champion to support every 14,000 working age veterans into employment. And a single specialist adviser could be set to cover all job centres in the whole of Denton and Reddish.
The unemployment rate for veterans is 7%, almost double level for the general population at 4.8%.
Ministers have faced criticism from Labour and Service charities that their Armed Forces Bill doesn’t provide any further assistance to Forces personnel, veterans and their families to gain employment. The Government told its MPs to vote against a Labour amendment to widen the scope of the Bill at Report Stage to include provisions to support veterans into work.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Forces personnel, veterans and their families urgently need more support to find work. Yet the Government have broken their pledge to provide specialist advice.
Across Denton and Reddish charities and community groups have constistently come together to support veterans, yet have not had their actions and efforts matched by the Government.
Veterans and service personnel have sacrificed so much for this country, and ministers must now take action and outline how they will support veterans into employment, and fulfil their promise to provide specialist advice.”
Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey commented:
“Ministers are failing our Forces personnel and veterans. They have outstanding skills from their military service but many need help to get civilian employers to see their talents or to deal with problems in getting work.
Labour want to see Ministers do more to support our veterans get work and successful civilian careers.”