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Iraq war hero now working in call centre speaks of anger at government

Posted on Nov 03 2009
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Mr Finney also attacked Gordon Brown for calling to ask about the health of X-Factor singer Susan Boyle following her breakdown, but not speaking to the families of service personnel killed in action.
He was an 18-year-old Trooper with the Blues and Royals when he tried to rescue injured colleagues from a burning vehicle which was under attack from American A-10 “tankbuster” aircraft during the Iraq War in 2003, despite being wounded in the back and leg.
He received the highest civilian award for bravery, the George Cross, because it was a friendly fire incident.
However Mr Finney, who is now 25, said this had not helped him find work.
“The usual grumbling by soldiers at the politicians who determine their fate has for me hardened into real anger,” he told the Mail on Sunday.
“My medal says I am a hero of the Iraq conflict, a man of extraordinary valour and strength of character.
“But now I work in a call centre selling insurance on a meagre salary of half my army pay.
“My life has gone from one extreme to another. I am a perfect example of the confusion this country feels towards its veterans.”
On leaving the Household Cavalry in July this year, Mr Finney received a resettlement allowance of £500, which he compared unfavourably to the generous payments made to MPs who leave the House of Commons.
“MPs who leave the Commons receive between 50 and 100 per cent of their salary to help them ‘adjust’ to life outside Parliament,” he said. “Where is the fairness in that?”
He criticised the Government for failing to spend enough money to properly equip troops and added: “What makes me even more furious is the demonstrable lack of respect shown by the Government to those who have paid the highest price and made the ultimate sacrifice: the war dead.
“Why is there no Minister in attendance when our fallen heroes from Afghanistan are brought home to repatriation ceremonies at Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire?”
Speaking about Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s decision to call Simon Cowell about Miss Boyle, Mr Finney said: “He doesn’t phone any of the bereaved military families. I thought that was disgusting, a real slap in the face for the parents of the hundreds of soldiers killed.
“My growing maturity brought an understanding of the workings of Whitehall and Downing Street and a sense of betrayal by the successive governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
“I am not alone in feeling betrayed and let down by this government."
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