Afghanistan hero Ben Parkinson praised by MPs for campaigning to secure mobility support cash
A veteran who suffered serious, life-changing injuries while serving in Afghanistan has been praised for helping to secure funding for specialist mobility equipment.
Former paratrooper Ben Parkinson suffered horrendous injuries when his British Army Land Rover hit a mine near Musa Qala in 2006 and is regarded as the most severely injured British soldier to survive in Afghanistan.
MPs heard former paratrooper Mr Parkinson and his family were concerned about a lack of support to cover the cost of his wheelchair.
And veterans minister Johnny Mercer told the Commons: "None of these individuals with these catastrophic injuries should be contributing anything to their specialist mobility equipment."
However, this week's Budget included £3m for the Veterans Mobility Fund to help fund specialist equipment for those with serious physical injuries.
Former soldier-turned-Labour MP Dan Jarvis told the Commons: "The veterans minister and I recently met with the hero that is Ben Parkinson.
"I was certainly concerned to hear that there wasn't provision previously within the system to cover the cost of Ben's wheelchair.
"I wonder if the minister could say whether there was provision made in yesterday's Budget to cover those costs and if there were, would he take the opportunity to pay tribute to Ben and his family for their persistence in making the case?"
Veterans minister Mr Mercer replied: "None of these individuals with these catastrophic injuries should be contributing anything to their specialist mobility equipment.
"That's why, yesterday, we managed to reinstate the Veterans Mobility Fund and I pay tribute to Ben for his campaigning and his family, on that.
"It's an important piece of work and we'll make sure we see it through."
Mr Parkinson, who left the British Army in 2019, released a book in 2021 about his life and lengthy and ongoing battles after the blast left him with both legs amputated, a twisted spine and brain damage.
He was honoured with an MBE in 2013 for his work with veterans and other charities.