Nia Griffith MP, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary, visited Plymouth last weekend to speak to veterans and to see the bases the Tories are closing in our city for herself.
A strong defence is important for Plymouth. In Labour's manifesto we committed to Trident and increasing defence spending to a genuine 2% from the current 1.9% the Tories are spending on defence. We also said we would take out the extra budgets the Tories have transferred into the defence budget from international aid and work and pensions to 'game' the 2%. These budgets give the impression that the Tory Government is spending more on defence when they aren't actually spending 2% on defence.
Luke had invited Nia Griffith, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary, to Plymouth so he could show her Stonehouse Barracks and the Royal Citadel - two bases the Tories want to close even though they promised not to do so in 2015.
I wanted Nia to visit Plymouth so I could show her myself, what the base closures mean for our City. The armed forces are very important to Plymouth and since being elected as your MP I've spoken in the Commons about the base closures, growing the size of the Royal Navy, building more frigates and lifting the pay cap on public sector workers including those serving in our armed forces.
"I'm really pleased to be in Plymouth today, a city with a great military history that we have to protect.
It's fantastic that Plymouth Sutton and Devonport now has a Labour champion in Luke Pollard MP who has already hit the ground running, pushing the Government on defence issues.
I had a hugely interesting time talking to residents in Budshead and hearing about the multitude of issues that there are with military housing and maintenance.
It is absolutely ridiculous that the Government aren't taking action to improve things and yet are putting Service families' rents up.
Labour are calling for a better deal for our Armed Forces, and that needs to start with paying Service personnel what they deserve and lifting the public sector pay cap- something that all the Conservative MPs in Plymouth voted against".