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ArmedforcesarticleIn an article for the Sunday Express (not online) the Conservative leader sets out some themes of the ‘Forces Family Manifesto’ that he has invited Shadow Defence Minister Mark Harper MP to write.

The top theme is the need for our troops to go into battle with proper equipment.  The rest of Mr Cameron’s article touches on welfare issues of importance to servicemen and their families.  He identifies the following themes of the yet-to-be-written manifesto:

  1. Better medical care for wounded soldiers and for those injured soldiers to be able to convalesce with their comrades.
  2. More modern accommodation for servicemen’s families.
  3. Action to ensure that service families on NHS or dental waiting lists do not suffer from being posted to a new location.

The article doesn’t promise the extra public spending that
might be necessary for progress but Cameron criticises Labour’s expensive refurbishment of the Ministry of Defence, writing that the money "would be better spent on our forces."  Liam Fox has also suggested ways of using existing budgets more effectively.  Dr Fox has, for example, talked
of a new model of procurement – based on that adopted by Canada’s
Conservatives – with more purchase of off-the-shelf equipment and less
emphasis on commissioning bespoke weaponry and vehicles.  The Tories
also believe that NATO countries that are not fighting in warzones
should make a financial contribution to those who do.  The current NATO
system means that nations that shoulder the physical work of
peacekeeping or peacemaking also bear all of the associated financial
costs.

David Cameron’s article concludes with these words:

"Since I became leader of the Conservative Party the event that has had the greatest impact on me was visiting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Some were only 18 and had been in the forces for only six months.  In Helmand province I met troops who had been fighting the Taliban day in, day out, for weeks – living off ration packs, sleeping rough.  Talking to them was an inspiring, humbling experience.  Quite simply, our forces are the best.  And they and their families deserve the best."

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