Earlier today I joined members of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association as they marched to Parliament to campaign for recognition and support from the government for their invaluable work and sacrifice during the Cold War.
The British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (BNTVA) marched from the Ministry of Defence to Westminister on Wednesday 27th to raise awareness of their group and their cause.
Between 1952 and 1967 over 20,000 UK servicemen participated in British Nuclear Weapons Tests. Their work was instrumental in establishing Britain’s security in the height of the Cold War, but neither at the time nor since has the true human cost of the some 44 nuclear detonations the UK undertook been calculated or appreciated.
Our call in Westminster today is for official recognition from the Prime Minister of the veterans’ unique service and for the establishment of a £25 million benevolent fund for veterans and their families administered by a board of trustees. It is important to note that this is not an appeal for compensation from the government, the intention is for the fund to be distributed on the basis of need, not entitlement, with payments made ex gratia without any admission of liability.
The BNTV has recently gained the support of a number of local councils across the UK as well as of MPs within Parliament: the Parliamentary groups on Cancer and Atomic Energy have recently voiced their support. It is our hope that this, along with the march on Westminster, and a petition to the Prime Minister with over 5000 signatures will finally stir the government into action.