Defence news today includes an update on the Better Defence Estates Strategy, and reporting on Armed Forces mental health.
Better Defence Estates strategy
There is widespread coverage today on the Better Defence Estates Strategy, following an update to Parliament yesterday. Articles are included in the The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Mirror, The Independent, Daily Star, Press & Journal and Glasgow Herald. Reporting is focused on the decision to close RAF Scampton, the home of the Red Arrows and the former headquarters of the Dambusters.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood said:
Our military bases are where our service personnel live, train and work, so it’s important that we have sites which suit the needs of the armed forces. That’s why we’re making our defence estate more modern and efficient, by closing sites we don’t need an investing in more modern accommodation. As well as saving money, and allowing reinvestment back into a more modern and better defence estate, the changes will provide greater long-term stability and certainty for our Armed Forces and their families.
Read more on the Better Defence Estates Strategy update here.
Mental health report
There is extensive coverage today of a House of Commons Defence Committee report into the mental health of Armed Forces personnel. Articles are carried in The Telegraph, The Times, The Sun, Daily Mail, The Mirror, Daily Star, Press & Journal and Daily Record, and focus on the report's findings on the proportion of military personnel seeking mental health treatment.
An MOD spokesperson said:
The MOD is working to raise awareness for mental health issues within the Armed Forces community. Our Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy is aimed at tackling the stigma around mental illness, and encouraging anyone who is suffering to come forward and access the care they deserve. We have increased spending on mental health to £22 million a year.
The vast majority of veterans go on to have happy, healthy and successful lives. But for those who do need help, it’s right that we provide the support they need. Help is available for serving personnel, their families and veterans through the two 24-hour helplines provided by Combat Stress, and we are working with charities and the Royal Foundation to enhance the support we offer.
Type 31e frigates
An MOD spokesperson said:
There have been no changes in our plans to procure a first batch of five new Type 31e frigates to grow our Royal Navy. We still want the first ship delivered by 2023 and are confident that industry will meet the challenge of providing them for the price tag we’ve set. This is an early contract in a wider procurement process, and we will incorporate the lessons learned and begin again as soon as possible so the programme can continue at pace.
Armed Forces pay
There is widespread coverage across print today of increases in public sector pay, including a 2.9 per cent increase for members of the Armed Forces, broken down into a 2 per cent consolidated pay and a 0.9 per cent non-consolidated pay.