I would like to start by saying that I hugely valuable the contribution made by our Armed Forces personnel and their families, who through their many sacrifices have kept Britain safe.
I can assure you that both I and the Government support the RBL's aspiration to include a veteran's marker in the 2021 census. In light of this, the Office of National Statistics and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) have established a working group to review this matter.
On the subject of gulf veterans illness, I am aware that the MOD continues to keep a watching brief on the matter but in line with the Medical Research Council review carried out in 2003, which confirmed that no discrete diagnosis was present, there are no plans to institute further research either on causation or clinical management.
I am pleased to report, however, that an independent review of the Covenant pledges made by business and the third sector is being undertaken in 2018 which will identify and document positive examples of how a range of organisations are delivering on their Covenant commitments. These examples of best practice will then be shared, along with appropriate guidelines, to support organisations in drafting and implementing Covenant pledges.
With regard to regard to veterans' healthcare, the MOD continues to work with the Department of Health and the Devolved Administrations to ensure that the specific healthcare needs of injured personnel are met when they leave the Services.
In instances of separated or divorced spouses and civil partners, I know that the MOD works closely with Local Authorities to make provision for people in such a position as they transit out of the Armed Forces community and I am assured Ministers will consider whether additional measures are necessary. I am aware that a number of Local Authorities have amended their housing policy to waive the requirement for a local connection to recently divorced and separated spouses on their first move out of Service family accommodation.
I hope this goes some way in reassuring you of the importance with which this Government and I regard the welfare of our armed forces veterans and their families.