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Veterans Strategy

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 14 November 2018

Following the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, the time is right to review how we continue to support and empower veterans in the future. Veterans are an asset to our nation and demonstrate some of the best qualities in our society: responsibility, duty and hard work. We are proud of the care, support and respect our society gives to veterans and have a long history of supporting those who step up to serve their country.

We want to make sure we continue to support veterans and want to do more. By 2028 we will do more to ensure that each veteran is valued, contributing and supported. Today we publish the “Strategy for our Veterans” (Cm 9726) and supporting “UK Government Consultation Paper” (Cm 9727) that outlines what we aim to do and consults on how we will achieve it. This strategy is part of the armed forces covenant, introduced in 2011 to ensure all service personnel, military families and veterans are treated fairly in accessing public and commercial services. Through the covenant, we have radically improved the support we give to veterans across Government, in terms of priority healthcare pathways, access to housing, employment support, and more.

The cross-Government “Strategy for our Veterans” is a remarkable joint statement of strategic intent for UK and devolved Governments. It is the first time Governments across the UK have clearly stated collective tangible outcomes for veterans’ services, and indeed the first time that all four nations of the UK have come together on such a far-reaching topic. It sets a vision and principles for support to veterans, as well as tangible outcomes in a variety of areas. The vision and principles are enduring and extend beyond the horizon of the strategy. Together, they state the long-term goal against which we will organise services for veterans throughout the UK. To deliver the vision and principles we have set outcomes for a number of cross-cutting factors and themes that will give us tangible aspiration to measure success. There are five cross-cutting factors that provide a backdrop to the overall system of veterans’ service provision as well as six identified themes. For each of the cross-cutting factors and themes there is an outcome for 2028 towards which all UK nations will work to deliver.

Today we also publish the complementary “UK Government Consultation Paper” that seeks the public’s view on how to build upon existing services. We would like comments from any public organisation that provides a service for veterans, from charities in the armed forces sector and other sectors who assist veterans, from private sector companies, and of course from veterans themselves. This consultation is UK-wide, although the Scottish Government and Welsh Government will consult separately on devolved matters.

The “Strategy for our Veterans” and accompanying “UK Government Consultation Paper” will be debated in the House of Commons and House of Lords on 15 November 2018.