I would like to thank all hon. and right hon. Members for their contributions to the Opposition day debate about the armed forces covenant in Northern Ireland on 7 March 2018. The passionate and constructive comments of Members clearly demonstrated this House’s support for our armed forces.
The covenant has always applied throughout the UK, including in Northern Ireland and there are a number of initiatives underway to ensure the armed forces community in Northern Ireland is treated fairly, supported, and not disadvantaged in accessing public and private goods and services.
The newly-formed Northern Ireland veterans support office (NI VSO)—embedded in the reserve forces and cadets association for Northern Ireland and acting on behalf of the confederation of service charities—functions as a single point of contact for veterans who feel unable to access public bodies or service charities for services.
We have allocated £300,000 over five years to improve the capacity and capability of local authorities and other service providers in Northern Ireland to apply for covenant funding.
Any UK armed forces veteran living in Northern Ireland who feels that they cannot access the support they require from public sector service providers should contact the NI VSO, either direct or via the network of local veteran’s champions. The NI VSO can provide bespoke support and advice through its partner organisations tailored to the specifics of each individual case.