MP Jonathan Reynolds has called for legislation that would outlaw discrimination against those serving in the armed forces.
Discrimination against serving members of the armed forces was highlighted in a Parliamentary debate, timed to coincide with Armed Forces Day.
During the debate MPs from across the country revealed instances where members of the Army, the Royal Air Force or the Royal Navy were – on occasion – refused entry to pubs or hotels, as well as facing particular difficulties in getting a credit card or a mobile phone contract, accessing healthcare or schools.
Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds called for legislation that would end discrimination against those in the armed forces.
He said: “We are all appalled that anyone could abuse a serviceman or servicewoman in uniform – it is appalling that someone could abuse anyone in the street – but we know that it happens.
“I find it even more concerning that people in uniform have been refused service in a pub, hotel or similar leisure establishment.
“We need a national, cross-party effort to stamp that out, and if it requires new legal protections and legislation, we should be willing to bring that forward.”
Mr Reynolds acknowledged work had been done to solve some of the problems associated with credit cards, mobile phone contracts or healthcare – resulting from the way service personnel lives were structured. But he said more still needed to be done.
During the debate Mr Reynolds also drew attention to the need to invest in mental health services for those leaving the armed forces, to the support needed for those taking redundancy from the Army and the importance of Armed Forces Day.
Mr Reynolds – who is Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Armed Forces Group and a participant of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme – said: “Armed Forces Day is an important national event because it allows us to show our respect not only to those who have served, but to those who are currently serving.
“We can highlight a lot of initiatives and good practice around the country that help us do that.
“In my own area, we have ensured that our war memorials are memorials not only to the first and second world wars, but to the people who have lost their lives since those conflicts. That move has been very well received by their families.”
Published 26 June, 2012