Armed forces veterans and councillors met with Luke Pollard MP, Labour’s Shadow Armed Forces Minister, in the city centre on Friday to discuss issues facing veterans living in Peterborough. The Shadow Minister visited the city to hear from former military personnel as part of Labour’s Veterans’ Voice campaign.
The meeting was called by Andrew Pakes, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Peterborough, alongside city councillor John Fox. Cllr Fox was previously the Armed Forces Champion for Peterborough City Council.
The participants discussed a wide range of issues affecting veterans in the city, including access to healthcare, pensions, city memorials and support from the council. Former Mayor and councillor Alan Dowson also spoke about his work on the campaign for recognition for veterans of Britain’s nuclear tests.
Peterborough was one of the first councils to sign the Armed Forces Covenant in 2013. The covenant acts as a promise between government, local government, and the Armed Forces Community to support all those who serve and have served our nation.
Andrew has joined veterans in urging Peterborough Council to fund its contribution towards the county-wide Armed Forces Covenant Officer who helps co-ordinate support for veterans across Cambridgeshire.
The ONS estimates there are more than 1.8 million veterans in England and Wales, with around 6,700 in Peterborough.
Andrew Pakes, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Peterborough, said: “Our Armed Forces community play a vital role in the city helping to highlight the contribution of those who serve and have served our country.
“I’m incredibly proud that Peterborough was an early adopter of the Armed Forces Covenant, but we need to do more to ensure everyday services work for our veterans and their families.
“We also need to ensure Peterborough Council pays its way alongside other councils in the county to ensure we keep our Cambridge-wide Armed Forces Covenant Officer.
“I’d like to thank the Shadow Armed Forces Minister for joining a cross-party group of councillors and veterans on Friday to discuss how we can improve things in Peterborough.
Luke Pollard MP, Shadow Armed Forces Minister, said: “It was great to be in Peterborough with Andrew to hear from local veterans and their families.
“This is why Labour has launched its Veterans’ Voice campaign to hear directly from former personnel and their families and put their lived experiences at the heart of our future policy offer.”
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