YOUR MP WRITES: Nick Smith MP for Blaenau Gwent
Last week we heard news from the Ministry of Defence that a number of historic regiments will be withdrawn due to dramatic cuts to the Army.
The number of soldiers in the British Army is set to drop from 102,000 to just 82,000 - the lowest level since the Boer War.
Unfortunately 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh are one of the units to lose out. Members of the unit will be merged into existing regiments, but with almost 20% of the Army facing redundancy forces families are worried about their future.
On Saturday I was contacted by a grandfather from Ebbw Vale, who is concerned that these cuts will mean his grandson, currently serving in Afghanistan, will lose his job. The uncertainty the government have created is crushing morale of our troops and their families. I have pressured the government on this issue, asking the Defence Secretary what steps he was taking to support sacked soldiers in the job market.
I raised this issue with David Cameron in the House at Prime Minister's Questions. It is not good enough for our brave servicemen and women to return from battle to be greeted by nothing but the dole queue.
Labour have been able to persuade big firms like John Lewis, communication company O2 and energy firm Centrica to guarantee an interview to all former members of the forces who apply for jobs, under the new Veteran Interview Programme. I asked David Cameron if he would offer the same deal to veterans who apply for jobs in the public sector. It is harder than ever for people looking for jobs and the government needs to do more to get everyone in the country back to work.
In Parliament I have met Cheryl Gillan, the Secretary of State for Wales, to ask her to engage with the Treasury to support the Duet "Circuit for Wales" development, to build a world class motor racing circuit in Rassau. I want ministers to put their foot down to get his development on the road. This is a great project that will bring jobs and investment, not to mention top class motor racing, to Blaenau Gwent.
I'd like to congratulate Mark Colbourne from Tredegar, on his selection for the Paralympic cycling team. I wish him the best of luck and I'm sure we all hope he will peddle back across the Severn Bridge with a gold medal.
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