The Welsh Government must improve support for veterans, Plaid Cymru has said.
Previous research by Plaid Cymru has shown that ex-armed forces personnel often end up sleeping rough on the streets, in prison or dealing with substance misuse. The latest data from the Welsh Government has revealed that 57% of veterans say that their experience of transitioning to civilian life is poor, or very bad. 75% of veterans also believe that support in this area needs to be improved.
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on Veterans, Peredur Owen Griffiths MS called for much improved aftercare for veterans – including extending housing priority to cover five years after citizens leave military service.
There is a disproportionately high numbers of armed service personnel, or former armed service personnel, in Wales.
The armed forces covenant, which was enshrined in law 10 years ago, was a response to the lack of fair play when it comes to the treatment of veterans and although improvements have been seen, more needs to be done.
Peredur Owen Griffiths MS said:
“This Remembrance Day, a lasting and fitting testament to all those who have served would be to greatly improve state support services that will keep veterans in mind all year round, not just on Remembrance Sunday.
“The armed forces expert group, which advises on how public services can meet the needs of the armed forces community, has said there are several things that the Government in Wales could do to make things better.
“This includes a national plan to implement changes from the Armed Forces Act 2006, a commitment to permanently fund the Supporting Service Children in Education Wales fund, and extending housing priority to cover five years after leaving military service.
“Meanwhile, the Westminster Government needs to step up and do more for all those who have served and require ongoing support. When this happens, we may see a significant drop in the number of ex-armed services personnel ending up homeless or with some form of addiction. It will also ease the burden on the charity sector, which has to do what any responsible Government should be doing in the first place.”