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Truss caves in to Mirror’s demands to mark ‘Plutonium Jubilee’ with gift for nuclear test vet

The heroes of Britain’s Cold War radiation experiments and their families welcomed the news, but said it did not go far enough to address the tests’ legacy of cancers, early death and birth defects

Mirror, By Fleet Street Fox, Columnist, 3 Oct 2022,

Prime Minister Liz Truss has caved to the Mirror’s demands to mark the ‘Plutonium Jubilee’ with a £450,000 gift for nuclear test veterans.

The heroes of Britain’s Cold War radiation experiments and their families welcomed the news, but said it did not go far enough to address the tests’ legacy of cancers, early death and birth defects.

More than half the money – £250,000 – will go to an academic or cultural institution to record oral histories of survivors. The remaining £200,000 will be available for veterans’ charities to bid for.

But that will be equivalent to just £133 a head for the estimated 1,500 ex-servicemen still alive.

The government will also host an event to “celebrate the unique and significant contributions of those involved in testing and developing our nuclear deterrent”.

It was announced on the same day as the 70th anniversary of Operation Hurricane – the Plutonium Jubilee, which marks Britain’s first atomic bomb test.

Alan Owen, of campaign group LABRATS, said: “It’s very welcome news, and a direct result of the meeting we had with Boris Johnson following the Mirror’s Look Me In The Eye campaign.

“In fact, it was the Mirror that asked, in that meeting, for a ceremony of national acknowledgement to allay veterans’ anger, and that will be a huge leap forward if we get it. But this money is a pittance in the grand scheme of things, and there’s still no medal, no apology, no acknowledgement.”

The money won’t be available until April next year – and there are fears some survivors, who are now all in their 80s, may not benefit from it.

Minister for the Armed Forces and Veterans, James Heappey, said the test veterans “played a crucial role in keeping Britain and our NATO allies safe”.

He added: “Their sacrifice contributed to achieving the ultimate guarantee of UK sovereignty and they forever have this nation’s gratitude.

“I look forward to commemorating the incredible service and efforts of our veterans.”  https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/truss-caves-mirrors-demands-mark-28145217

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October 3, 2022 - Posted by | health, UK, weapons and war

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