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7 November 2000

MSP demands justice for test veterans


Speaking prior to the Scottish Parliament's Member's Business debate on nuclear testing related illnesses, Angus MSP Andrew Welsh has urged the Scottish Executive to support plans to help nuclear test veterans.

As well as sending a strong message to Westminster, the SNP MSP is hoping that tomorrow's debate will result in the Executive backing plans to establish a Scottish centre of excellence based in Dundee which will develop a new diagnostic procedure to determine the amount of damage veterans received from radiation.

Pilot studies are currently being carried out by Sue Rabbit Roff of Dundee University who is a leading expert in this field. v Along with his SNP colleague Michael Matheson, Mr Welsh has been campaigning on behalf of the UK's nuclear test veterans who have suffered subsequent illnesses they believe to be attributable to the tests.

Mr Welsh commented that:

"This is the Scottish Parliament's opportunity to sent a message to nuclear test veterans throughout the country that we care and that unlike our Westminster colleagues we are willing to do something about it.

"Veterans feel let down by the Labour Party who in 1990 supported an amendment which would have given war pensions to nuclear test veterans who had cancer but who now stand behind old Tory arguments to refuse justice.

"Although the Scottish Parliament does not have the powers to alter UK Government policy in this area, by supporting the research carried out by Sue Rabbit Roff we can help bring about justice to this particular group of people."

Contact:Andrew Hinson 0131 348 5491

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