Supporting our armed forces at home and abroad

October 8, 2015

Tameside has a long and historic relationship with our Armed Forces.

I am a strong supporter of our services and soon after being elected, became a member of the all-party parliamentary group for the Armed Forces.

It was in that capacity that I spent three days recently visiting the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS).

It is our army’s largest armoured training facility and can accommodate live-firing and tactical effect simulation (TES) exercises up to battle group level.


It was a fantastic and memorable experience to be part of an army exercise with the British Fusiliers in such a bleak and barren environment.

And the weekend really brought home to me the sacrifices our armed forces make to keep us all safe and well.

That’s why Tameside Council’s support for the Armed Forces Community Covenant is so important.

It brings together the civilian community in support of our service personnel, their families, widows and veterans across a range of services, including lifelong learning, mental wellbeing and employment skills.

No-one deserves more support than our service men and women who face mortal danger every day to ensure that our British way of life is protected.

Another great British tradition is the right to peaceful protest. I was proud to join the anti-austerity march through Manchester on Sunday on the eve of the Conservative Party conference.

It was a good-natured, colourful and vibrant demonstration of people’s opposition to Government policies which continue to do so much damage to the most vulnerable people in our community.

Thanks to George Osborne, even more cuts are coming locally. Tameside and Oldham Councils have begun consulting local people on the future shape of services.

How can they manage to protect the most vulnerable, when half of their funding has been cut?

You can have your say at and 

Both local councils face incredibly difficult decisions - its vital that local people have their say about the future of local services. I urge you to take part in these important consultations. 

  • The BBC's Nick Knowles and his DIY SOS team have breathed new life into a derelict street in East Manchester to create homes and a support centre for war veterans. I was privileged to visit the site recently to see how 62 homes are being transformed. Tune in to BBC One at 8pm on 14th and 21st October to see their magnificent efforts to help our war veterans.

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