This weekend brings Armed Forces Day, offering us the opportunity to celebrate and pay respect to those who serve or who have served our country.
A survey published earlier this week conducted by the country's oldest national military charity, SSFA shows that 68% of people think "we do not give enough support to those who have served their country in the Armed Forces". Listening to the maiden speech of my colleague the Conservative MP for Plymouth, Johnny Mercer, I was struck by one statistic: "In 2012 ....more soldiers and veterans killed themselves than were killed in operational service in defence of the realm." While Johnny spoke very positively of the work undertaken by the last Government to support our Armed Services, including the Military Covenant but his speech demonstrated that more needs to be done.
As a region that has a proud tradition of people serving in our armed services, we have many people in active service and veterans working and living in Cornwall. I have seen first hand the great work that our Armed Forces do here to support their personnel and the many local charities that support veterans. I want to make sure that our local authority, Cornwall Council, learns from the recent Local Government Ombudsman's report and fully implements the Military Covenant that it has signed.
I have written to the Leader of Cornwall Council and asked him to enable all staff to have awareness training about the Military Covenant as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As far as I am aware, Cornwall Council has money allocated to staff training and there are excellent local social enterprises such as ActivePlus, who could undertake the training. Given how many people Cornwall Council employ and have contact with everyday, it is vitally important they deliver their duty of care.