Ahead of Armed Forces Day, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has set out five priorities the Government must meet to better support Britain’s service men and women.
We must never forget the enormous sacrifices which our service men and women make on our behalf every day. I know from visiting them in Afghanistan that their selfless dedication is truly humbling.
“Armed Forces Day is a chance to show our gratitude, but also to reflect on how we can best support our troops. This Government has failed them too often. That is why I am setting out five priorities Gordon Brown must meet if he wants this day to be more than just a gesture.
“First, our forces in Afghanistan need a strategy they can believe in. If military commanders need more troops for this operation, they should have them. We must not ask them to do this difficult job without committing the resources they need to do it properly.
“Second, we need our front line troops to have the helicopters and armoured vehicles they so desperately need. Progress on replacing the poorly armoured Snatch Land Rovers has been painfully slow, and British forces are still desperately short of the helicopters that fighting in Afghanistan requires.
“Third, the Government must provide decent housing for forces families. For too long families whose loved ones are risking their lives abroad have been rewarded with disgracefully substandard housing.
“Fourth, there needs to be a much greater emphasis on providing the best physical and mental healthcare for both serving personnel and veterans. Our troops are under greater strain now than they have been for decades, yet too often they don’t get the help they need.
“Fifth, we urgently need a Strategic Security and Defence Review to ensure our forces can fight the wars we face today and tomorrow, not the Cold War conflicts of the past. The way we treat our service personnel must be at the heart of this review.”