19 Oct 23. Chair Comment: Sub-Committee on Service Accommodation. Service accommodation: Serving personnel can now submit evidence
Today the Defence Sub-Committee on Service Accommodation publishes a letter from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), announcing that the Committee will be able to receive written evidence from Service personnel, after receiving special dispensation from the MOD.
Under MOD rules, any contact between serving members of the UK Armed Forces and Parliamentarians must be authorised in advance through Ministers.
The MOD previously refused the Committee’s request to allow serving personnel to contribute, on the basis that they already had routes to give feedback or raise issues with accommodation.
But in a letter to the Secretary of State in September, the Sub-Committee said, “this decision does not make sense, when serving personnel know the most about what it’s like to live in that accommodation and have been and will continue to be affected by MOD policy such as Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) contracts and the New Accommodation Model.”
19 Oct 23. MPs start evidence sessions on the defence industry in Wales.
Defence industry in Wales
Wednesday 25 October at 10.00, Committee Room 5
Watch live on parliamentlive.tv
The Welsh Affairs Committee will be holding its first evidence session on the Defence industry in Wales. The Committee launched its inquiry in March 2023 to examine how important the defence industry is to Wales, to investigate opportunities for growth and to consider how the UK Government can further support the defence sector in Wales, including by working with the Welsh Government in areas such as skills.
In this first evidence session, members will develop an overview of defence industrial policy in the UK (including in Wales), the sectoral and geographical spread of the defence industry in Wales, and opportunities for Welsh defence companies in sectors like cyber security and aerospace. This will act as a scene-setter before further evidence sessions are held.
The first panel will hear from Professor Trevor Taylor and it is expected that he will share his knowledge with Members of the defence sector in Wales, UK policy and the relationship between the two.
Members will then hear from two defence industry trade associations, ADS and Aerospace Wales Forum and the union, Prospect – whose representatives are likely to discuss key issues facing the industry in Wales from their members’ perspectives.
- Professor Trevor Taylor, Director of the Defence, Industries & Society Programme, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
- Kevin Craven, Chief Executive, ADS
- Sue Ferns, Deputy General Secretary, Prospect
- John Whalley, Chief Executive, Aerospace Wales Forum
04 Oct 23. Comment from Defence Committee following BBC reports in relation to the death of Royal Artillery Gunner, Jaysley Beck
On 14 November, the Committee will hold an evidence session with the Ministry of Defence to review the Government’s progress towards meeting the recommendations of the Committee’s Women in the Armed Forces Report (2021). The MOD has given a special dispensation to allow serving personnel to give evidence to the Committee as it undertakes this review. Current and former service personnel are encouraged to contribute and share their experiences from the past two years since the original inquiry. Further information is available here.
Chair of the Sub-Committee on Women in the Armed Forces, Sarah Atherton MP, said: “My sympathies are with the family of Gunner Beck – her death is a tragedy. We await news of a date for the inquest into her death.
The Defence Committee made a series of recommendations to Government in 2021 to improve its handling of unacceptable behaviour, most of which the Ministry of Defence officially accepted. We now want to understand whether there has been enough change in practice over the last two years. We will hold a public evidence session with the MOD in November. To inform our session, we are seeking evidence from servicewomen (with approval from the MOD) and recent female veterans, in relation to their experiences since our Women in the Armed Forces Report was published in 2021. I would encourage all those wishing to share their experiences of Armed Forces culture over the last two years to come forward and share their evidence with the Committee.”