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King Charles wants to honour nuclear test heroes but medals are being delayed by MoD red tape

King Charles wants Britain’s nuclear test heroes honoured before his coronation, but the MoD is accused of creating “unreasonable delay”

Mirror, By Susie Boniface. Reporter , 27 Jan 2023

King Charles wants to give a medal to Britain’s nuclear test heroes within months – but Ministry of Defence red tape could hold up the process for at least a year.

The King has told friends he has pencilled in a full “investiture” type ceremony in April, before his coronation.

But two months after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a gong for victims of the Cold War radiation experiments, civil servants say it will take more than a year for the design of the medal to be signed off.

Alan Owen, whose dad died after witnessing 24 bombs in 78 days, said: ““It beggars belief that this country can organise a coronation in 8 months but we’ve been told it will take even longer to do one, simple, medal.

“It took them 70 years to get around to asking the monarch for what we should have had on day one. They know how to make medals, this is just another unreasonable delay by the MoD so that there are as few veterans as possible left to collect it.”

A source close to the King said: “His Majesty is taking a close interest in the issue of nuclear test veterans, and wants to see some form of official ceremony as soon as possible.

“He recognises that those who can be given it are not going to be around for long.

“His staff have pencilled in something for April, depending on approval from government.”…………………………………………….

The Mirror has campaigned for official recognition on their behalf for 40 years, and last year saw the first sign of change when the PM finally asked the King to approve a medal.

Cabinet Office staff have told campaigners that “the usual process” for medal design and delivery is handled by the MoD medal office according to “set procedures”.

It is understood they are still working out criteria, with no date for inviting applications, or for it to be made by the Royal Mint…………………………………….

Mr Sunak also promised a face-to-face meeting with veterans to discuss war pension reform, education packages, and missing records on nuked blood. Despite No10 acknowledging the request, no date has been set.

Campaigners have also been promised meetings with Office of Veterans Affairs staff to discuss grant applications to a £200,000 fund, but none have been arranged.

Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey, who campaigns for the veterans, said: “When he announced the medals, the PM witnessed their decades of pain and grief. The families wept as he promised them a meeting. They are still waiting, and time is running out. I urge the PM to meet us as soon as he can.” ………………………………………………


January 29, 2023 - Posted by | politics, UK

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