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Today [Monday 14th January 2013] Labour is launching a campaign to urge Local Authorities to have Veterans Champions, a dedicated person at each council to help service-leavers resettle in to civilian life.
Jim Murphy is visiting Barking and Dagenham Council today to launch the campaign, where Barking and Dagenham Council are announcing that the Council Leader will take on responsibility as Cabinet Member for the Armed Forces.
Labour Councils up and down the country are today also announcing that they are appointing Veterans Champions.
Labour will encourage Labour-controlled councils to ensure there is an individual with responsibility to support service-leavers. Specific details will be a decision for each Leader subject to local circumstance. Labour will also urge Labour Groups to campaign for non-Labour councils to do similar.
Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, said:
“Our country is brilliant at turning civilians into soldiers, but we are not good enough when the time comes to turning soldiers back into civilians.
“Transition from military to civilian life can be difficult and distressing. A one-stop-shop for access to services and entitlements would make an enormous difference.
“A Veterans Champion would help those who have performed heroics overseas find a new home or job back home.
“Each council could take this step in a way that best serves local needs. We want to strengthen the bond between civilian and military communities, making the Military Covenant a reality for everyone.”
Hilary Benn MP, Labour's Shadow Local Government Secretary, said:
“Local Government has a big part to play in supporting our veterans as they return to civilian life. From giving advice on finding a home or a job to community groups that renew old friendships and help make new ones, councils and communities have a special responsibility to assist the men and women we hold in such esteem for their courage and their service to our nation.”