Council pledges its support for Commonwealth Veterans
In December 2020 the Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council wrote to both the Prime Minister and Minister for Defence and Veterans, John Mercer MP to express concerns about the extortionate charges associated with commonwealth veterans and their application for them and their families to remain in the UK once their service is complete.
Within the letter Councillor Shaun Davies outlined cross party support for all Commonwealth veterans who have served a minimum of four years to be granted the automatic and free of right charge to remain in the UK.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Defence and Veterans, John Mercer MP has since responded to the letter outlining that the MOD takes this issue very seriously.
He went on to outline immigration rules, stating the Government recognise how the fees place a significant financial burden on serving personnel wishing to remain in the UK after their discharge. He also added that a public consultation is being considered in due course.
Councillor Shaun Davies commented: “Sadly, whilst the letter response we have received acknowledges the problems with the current system, we need to see more actions taken to address this matter.
“It is important that always we remember the sacrifices that our service men and women have made for our country – many whom live right here in our borough.
“We are immensely proud of our armed forces community here in Telford and Wrekin and as a council we offer a range of support for veterans and their families such as help with housing and access to health and wellbeing support.
“It is paramount that the resettlement process upon leaving the military is as straightforward as possible and this should begin with being able to remain in the UK without having to pay for this privilege.”
According to the Royal British Legion, over 6,000 personnel from foreign and Commonwealth countries are currently serving in the British Armed Forces.
Additionally the Council support any veteran who has completed 12 years of service to be automatically granted British citizenship.
The Council has asked for legislation to be changed to recognise those who have served our country with such honour and diligence.