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Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans Annual Report 2023

Volume 742: debated on Monday 18 December 2023

The following joint statement is released on behalf of myself and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Moor View (Johnny Mercer).

The events of the last 12 months have continued to highlight the vital work our armed forces carry out. Around the world they work with our allies to defend the global community and support vital humanitarian work. At home they protect our borders, provide military aid to our national communities, and lead epoch-defining state ceremonial events including Their Majesties’ coronations. More than ever, our armed forces community is central to our national life and represents who we are as a country, and we are delighted that public support for our soldiers, sailors, aviators and their families remains consistently high.

We are honoured to introduce the 2023 armed forces covenant and veterans report. This is the primary tool by which the Government are held to account in delivering the covenant. It includes contributions from across the MOD, the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, wider Government Departments, and the devolved Administrations. It is how the Government showcase the extraordinary work that is done throughout the UK to support our armed forces community.

Highlights from this year’s report include:

Improvements to service accommodation under the Defence Command Paper refresh, published in July 2023, which announced an additional £400,000,000 of funding over two years for programmes to address damp and mould issues, improve thermal efficiency and to carry out refurbishment works to unoccupied homes.

The modernisation of service families accommodation policy means over 5,200 families in committed relationships (who are not married or civil partnered), can live together in service families accommodation.

Funding to support the armed forces families strategy continues under the armed forces families fund, with funding of over £900,000 for early years projects, nearly £500,000 for the new supporting partners programme and over £2,000,000 for what was the education support fund.

Following the successful launch of the wraparound childcare scheme in September 2022, there are over 5,500 service families taking advantage of the funding toward their childcare costs.

The Op COMMUNITY pilot is underway across England. Op COMMUNITY is a point of contact for the armed forces community to offer support and guidance as they navigate NHS services.

The Office for Veterans’ Affairs, in partnership with the armed forces covenant fund trust, invested £3,000,000 into the veterans mobility fund

Launch of Op FORTITUDE, to create a pathway for veterans at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Launch of Op RESTORE, to create a clear physical health pathway in the NHS for our veterans.

The number of armed forces covenant signatories has seen substantial growth as of 30

September 2023 with some 10,975 total signatories.

This report is a collaborative effort with input from service providers and professionals from a diverse array of backgrounds. I would like to thank colleagues across central Government, the devolved Administrations and local authorities, and those at every level and from every sector who are continuing to drive forward the work of the covenant and the strategy for our veterans in support of our armed forces community. We are also grateful to the representatives of the key external stakeholders who provided their independent observations.

The attachment can be viewed online at: