On 3 November 2011, the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant were enshrined in law for the first time, contained in the new Armed Forces Act 2011 that received Royal Assent. Details of the covenant can be found in the Armed Force Covenant publication prepared by the Ministry of Defence.
In 2009, as the nation's Guardian of the Military Covenant, the Legion launched its manifesto to raise awareness of the needs of the Armed Forces family, especially young Service personnel, bereaved Armed Forces families and veterans.
A parliamentary pledge campaign known as Time to do your bit built tangible support among Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs), MPs and the parliamentary parties for political measures to improve the welfare of the whole Armed Forces family.
The Legion held receptions and photocalls, advertised and conducted face-to-face lobbying. We asked the three main party leaders to pledge and set an example - they all did. Our online campaign on Facebook and Twitter invited constituents to email their local MP. In just two days we had achieved 2.2 million 'impressions' and had ensured that every MP was emailed.
As a result, 1,022 PPCs pledged, and a staggering 464 MPs pledged in the new Parliament. At the time, Time to do your bit was the most recognised and most supported campaign in Parliament, with 78% of MPs saying they supported it and 92% rating the Legion as the most effective campaigning charity.
In 2007, The Royal British Legion called on Government to honour its lifelong duty of care to those making a unique commitment to their country by honouring the Military Covenant with our Armed Forces. The campaign lasted four years and achieved its objectives.
Milestones included securing significant improvements to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, the publication of the first ever cross-departmental strategy on improving Armed Forces welfare (the Service Personnel Command Paper) and getting the principles of the Covenant written into law.
In 2008 the Royal British Legion joined forces with Age Concern (now Age UK) and launched Return to Rationing, a campaign to increase the incomes of older people living in poverty.
On 25 February 2009, a campaign petition, with some 25,000 signatures, was handed in to Number 10 by The Royal British Legion's National President, General Sir John Kiszely.
The Legion used the petition to call for the Government to commit to rebranding Council Tax Benefit as a rebate by the general election. As a result of the campaign, legislation was passed to enable the Government to make this important change.
Government agreed to pay each Far East Prisoner of War £10,000
The Legion led a campaign to have a formal Government inquiry into Gulf War illness and in 1998 that inquiry took place. The outcome has made a huge difference to the lives of Service men and women affected by the illness and their families.
Government appointed a Minister in 2001
Raised in 1989
Widows whose husbands had been killed in action used to have to pay a significant amount of tax on the pensions they received. In 1961, a successful campaign by the Legion saw widows' pensions freed from some of this tax. In 1976 the Legion ensured the rate was cut by 50% and then 100% in 1979. The Legion continued to campaign to raise the rate of the widow's pension throughout the 1970s and 80s.
After the Second World War the Legion successfully campaigned to double war disability pensions.
In 1974 the Legion ensured that pensions were tied to the cost of living.
- Lower pensions scale - level by 1943
- Retained seven-year time limit on claims - lifted in 1947
- Burden of proof on appellant - shifted in 1943
- No provision for appeal - granted in 1943
Resulted in the 1944 Disabled Persons Act
Government refused but supported the Legion's settlement
Appeals were not allowed but cases were reconsidered
The rule remained in place but claims were allowed
In 1922, just as in the present day, pensions could mean the difference between eating and starvation for ex-Service men, especially those who returned from war injured.
In 1922 pensions would take time to be approved and could be called into question if injuries were not obvious. It was felt that if a separate Ministry of Pensions didn't exist pensions would take even longer to come through or would not be awarded at all.
The Legion campaigned to keep the Ministry separate and it won.
In 1923 the Government wanted to reduce war pensions due to a fall in living costs. The Legion successfully campaigned to maintain the war pension rate.
In 1921, many of the men who fought in the First World War struggled to find work when they returned to Britain. They were being overlooked by employers recruiting younger men or those without disabilities. The Legion campaigned for employers to give preferential treatment to those that had fought to ensure that ex-Service men were not overlooked.
In 1924 the Legion pushed the campaign one step further and made it a requirement that all medium-to large companies had to employ a quota of disabled ex-Service men. This quota remained in place until 1944.