Give our recovering troops a free holiday, says Fox


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Free sunshine breaks, travel tickets and second homes should be offered to recovering soldiers and their families in a bid to lift morale, the former Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, has said.

Dr Fox, who worked as a civilian Army medical officer before becoming an MP, argued that such packages would provide families of servicemen with important support. He added that his time as a force's doctor had highlighted the importance of looking out for the welfare of soldiers and their families in the aftermath of service.

Since resigning from the Cabinet, Dr Fox has set up a charity encouraging property owners to donate vacant timeshares and second homes to recovering servicemen. Travel firms have also be invited to pledge train tickets to certain destinations.

The move comes amid concern over the long-term welfare of soldiers that have served for long stints in warzones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. One study from Kings College earlier this year suggested that post-traumatic distress affects more soldiers than previously thought, with at least 70 out of a 1,000 serving in a combat zone susceptible to mental repercussions.

Speaking on Sky News yesterday, Dr Fox said: "I think if we are able as a society to help them, then so much the better. If we are able to do it without any taxpayers' money and the dead hand of government, then so much the better."

He added: "It may be a family who has lost a father in combat, it may be someone who is injured back with their family, or just a family who is having difficulty adjusting to post-combat life."

Separately, Dr Fox also reiterated calls for Downing Street to concentrate on issues such as the economy rather than force through legislation to introduce gay marriage. Dr Fox resigned as Defence Secretary last October after it emerged that he had given his friend, Adam Werritty, access to the heart of the Government and the defence establishment, despite Mr Werritty having no formal role in the civil service or the Conservative Party.