The Conservatives and Unionists Armed Forces Manifesto was launched by the Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox today in East Belfast.
In a statement Liam said:
"I am delighted to be in Northern Ireland again to launch the Conservatives and Unionists Armed Forces Manifesto. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces, many of whom are from Northern Ireland. It is shameful that the Military Covenant has been neglected by Gordon Brown and the Labour government.
"If elected, a Conservative and Unionist government will work from day one to improve the lives of everyone in our Forces. And we will work to improve the lives of all their families.
We pledge to:
- Give the Armed Forces clear leadership - we'll hold a Strategic Defence and Security Review to make sure resources match commitments. In the meantime, we'll protect the defence budget for 2010/11.
- Equip our Armed Forces properly - we'll reform procurement so our Forces get the equipment they need when they need it, at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer.
- Support our servicemen and women - we'll double the operational allowance, improve rest and recuperation leave and establish a tri-Service Military Covenant.
- Support service families and children - we will work to give Forces children extra support in school, and seek to provide college and university bursaries for the children of Forces personnel who have been killed.
- Support our veterans - with a new mental health screening process and work for a new 'Troops for Teachers' programme to get ex-service personnel into teaching.
Speaking at the Launch, Trevor Ringland, Conservatives and Unionists candidate for East Belfast said:
"For generations people form all backgrounds in Northern Ireland have made an outstanding contribution to the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom. It is right and proper that their service is recognised and that those garrisoned in Northern Ireland get the support they need.
"Michael McGimpsey in particular has done excellent work to ensure that service personnel get the support from Health and Social Services they deserve. However, we believe that every Executive department should make a pledge. This manifesto today will help us deliver for the men and women, and the families, who serve our country and place themselves in harm's way. We are committed to rebuilding the Military Covenant in every part of the United Kingdom.
"Other parties may talk about renewing the Military Covenant. Only the Conservatives and Unionists can deliver for our armed forces and their families".