Welsh Government reject calls for body to protect veterans

The Cabinet Secretary for Public Services has rejected Cross Party Group (CPG) on the Armed Forces and Cadets’ calls for an Armed Forces Commissioner in Wales.

Welsh Labour Alun Davies AM sent his response to the group which is made of representatives from across the political divide in a written statement on Monday 23 April.

He said that he did “not consider the appointment of an Armed Forces Commissioner for Wales would add any further benefit or value.”

The Chair of the CPG on the Armed Forces and Cadets, Welsh Conservative AM Darren Millar, said:

“The CPG is very disappointed with the Welsh Government’s response to our calls for an Armed Forces Commissioner.

“Our aim as a non-partisan group is to hold Welsh Government, councils, the NHS, and other public bodies to account for their delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant.

“We maintain our commitment to this policy because we want to support people who were willing to give their lives for their country, only to now find their government is not interested.”

Mr Davies instead said he will ask civil servants to strengthen the veterans unit within Welsh Government.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Public Services, Mark Isherwood, said this would further “accentuate the problem.”

He said:

“So instead of an Independent person, this Labour Cabinet Secretary is asking his officials ‘to strengthen the veterans unit within Welsh Government’, thereby dodging the very reason for having a Commissioner and accentuating the problem.

“One wonders which genius came up with this top-down, diversionary wheeze, how much it will cost, where his cost figure for a Commissioner’s Office has come from - and whether he has conducted a proper cost-benefit analysis to identify the ‘invest to save’ potential of an Armed Forces Commissioner for Wales.”