In addition to David Cameron's statement on Thursday, a member of the Shadow Defence team Mark Harper MP outlined the Conservativesâ plans to improve the welfare of British troops. He reminded the Government of the military covenant which requires the troops to lay down their lives for the country and act with professionalism and integrity in the face of great demands that the nation puts on them. In exchange they should expect that they and their families are provided with the full support of the country and can be confident that their needs will be provided for both in conflict and at home. He highlighted four key areas of government failure: * Healthcare: Mr Harper said that a Conservative government would create a dedicated military ward in Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham. According to him, treatment for our forces should not be divorced from the âmental healingâ which they can only receive if they recuperate together. He also highlighted the difficulties their families face with obtaining NHS dental care because of their regular travels across the country. * Housing: The Shadow Minister quoted the Adjutant General of the Army who said that the quality of the accommodation offered to the majority of our troops was below standard. He argued that this situation must be improved because we expect our troops to lay down their lives for their country and in exchange they ought to receive quality accommodation from the country. Further he stated poor accommodation quality was one of the factors affecting recruitment in the Armed forces. * Education: Mr Harper stated that a Conservative government would look into providing quality education for our troops by offering to pay for them to access university education if they have served for more than five years. He believes that this will help to increase the retention rate as well as improve interaction between our troops and the wider society. * Spending: The Shadow Minister criticised the government for failing to match its spending and recruitment with its international commitments. He argued that our forces are under funded and overstretched. Mr Harper promised that a future Conservative government will ensure that our spending on defence is sufficient to maintain our international obligations.