A BARNSLEY MP raised the issue of war veterans’ welfare in Parliament this week in a bid to raise care standards to prevent ex-military personnel from falling on hard times.

The Barnsley Central representative used to serve in the Parachute Regiment and has provided support for ex-military staff in the past.

He has raised the issue of support for veterans in the criminal justice system with the government previously after veterans were identified as being vulnerable to both crime and homelessness.

“The men and women who have bravely served in our armed forces but have unfortunately ended up in the criminal justice system often have very complex needs and require additional support,” he said.

“That is why I am calling for a dedicated veterans support officer in every probation and prison.

“That’s why I’m calling on the government to improve the identification of veterans in the prison estate and provide dedicated support officers in every prison.

“I was very encouraged by the minister’s response and his promise to work closely with me on this vitally important issue. I will continue to raise this in the future wherever I am able to do so.”

More support is set to be given to veterans who require help as part of a funding package given to a charity in Barnsley.

A £90,000 grant will be used to extend the work of Help 4 Homeless Veterans, which currently helps the homeless armed forces communities in the town.

The cash has come from the government’s Homelessness Veterans’ Fund and will enable the charity to extend its services across a broader area.

Services will be available to all those who are homeless and have served in the British Army, Royal Navy or Royal Air Force, while additional training will be provided for frontline support staff.

Dan added: “Most service leavers go on to achieve great things in civilian life, using the invaluable experience and transferable skills gained in the military.

“But as someone who had the honour of serving in the armed forces myself, I understand the challenges some people can face when leaving.

“In one of the richest economies in the world, no-one should be without a home, especially those who’ve risked their life serving our country. It’s time that we recognise our service men and women in a manner that befits their sacrifice and better support them in the transition from military to civilian life.”

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics revealed that more than 720 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2018/19 - representing the highest year-on-year increase since records began.

More than 1,700 homeless veterans were identified by South Yorkshire’s four local authority housing services, making up 0.72 per cent of homeless cases.

Steve Bentham-Bates, chief executive for Help 4 Homeless Veterans, added: “The charity was created in 2012 in Barnsley working with Barnsley Council and Berneslai Homes.

“We are delighted to learn our charity has been identified by the Sheffield City Region as a worthy recipient of funding to enable us to provide help to the most vulnerable veterans right across South Yorkshire.”