Fifth Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report Published
The Government has today published its fifth Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report, outlining the measures taken over the past year to ensure that Service personnel, veterans and their families are treated fairly.
The report also sets out areas where work still needs to be done to ensure that the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant are honoured, and includes feedback from Service charities including The Royal British Legion.
The Legion warmly welcomes the progress being made to improve the welfare of our Armed Forces community, and is particularly pleased that so many of the areas we previously raised have now been addressed, including the resolution of compensation payments for veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma, and the impending full disregard of injured veterans’ compensation from financial assessments for social care.
The Legion is also honoured to have been awarded a grant by the Government to lead a consortium of charities in establishing a Veterans’ Gateway, which will be a one-stop service to better support the UK’s Armed Forces veteran community.
We are similarly encouraged by the positive response we have received from Government departments, as well as the devolved governments, to the Legion’s Count Them In campaign, which calls for the next census to capture data on the Armed Forces community. We would, however, now like to see the Government as a whole take a position in support of this proposal.
Despite the progress demonstrated in the 2016 Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report, there remain a number of outstanding concerns that the Legion looks forward to working with the Government on over the next year, including improving awareness and understanding of Priority Treatment for veterans among healthcare professionals; funding research into how best to treat ill Gulf War veterans; protecting specialist representation on the War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Chamber tribunal panel; and adding a new question or set of questions concerning membership of the Armed Forces community to the next census.
Charles Byrne, Director General of The Royal British Legion, said of the report: “We warmly welcome the publication of the latest Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report, which outlines the many improvements that have been made for Service personnel, veterans and their families in respect of healthcare, accommodation, education, employment, and access to financial services.
“Whilst there is undoubtedly still much more to do, the Legion recognises the work that has been undertaken by the UK Government, devolved governments, local authorities and third sector partners in support of our Armed Forces community, and looks forward to continued dialogue and collaboration on new and outstanding issues in the weeks and months ahead.”