Chris Matheson MP is calling for action to safeguard the Armed Forces and maintain their presence in Chester.

A recent parliamentary debate saw concerns raised for the future of the Armed Forces, as a leaked report showed 32 of 33 infantry battalions are dangerously short of battle-ready personnel.

Chris, a member of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme who has long campaigned against Government plans to close Dale Barracks in Upton, spoke out in the debate on February 8th.

He said: “The plans to close our last remaining barracks are still in place. When we are discussing the importance of retaining our experienced soldiers and the importance of providing them and their families with decent quarters, it seems absurd to sell off one of the best sites. Chester is popular with servicemen and with their families, which is important when considering attrition rates.”

Chris added: “The number of full time personnel has fallen by over 43,000 in the past decade, which is an astonishing 25%. Constant cuts to our Armed Forces are clearly not the way forward, as this leaked report shows. We must instead see investment to bring these numbers back up.”

Chris has also spoken about the wider problems facing service veterans, praising the work done locally by the University of Chester’s Westminster Centre for Veteran Affairs.

He said: “We are so lucky to have Professor Finnegan, himself a former colonel, and his team here in Chester. They have made some very valuable contributions to the discussion around military provision.

For example, they have highlighted the problem of veterans’ widows being entitled to only 50% of their military pensions. Proper funding is vital if the Prime Minister is serious about his pledge to make this the best place in the world to be a veteran. I will be continuing to press for improvements which will benefit the current Armed Forces as well as ex-servicemen and women.”

 

Chris Matheson MP with the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme
Chris Matheson MP with the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme
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