David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford has welcomed the news that the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant are to be enshrined in law.
The Secretary of State, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, announced in a House of Commons statement yesterday (16 May) that the Armed Forces Covenant would be published for the first time. He also said that an amendment would be tabled to alter the Armed Force Bill so that its principles will have legal standing. This will help ensure that members of the Armed Forces Community do not suffer disadvantages as a result of their service and that they receive special treatment where appropriate.
Other measures announced included:
• a new Community Covenant Grant scheme – with funding of £30m over the next four years to support action by local communities to support our Armed Forces and veterans;
• a new fund of £3m per year, over and above the Pupil Premium arrangements, to support state schools catering for significant numbers of Service children;
• a Veterans Card that will allow access to discounts and privileges;
• a guarantee that veterans suffering serious genital injuries will have access to three cycles of IVF, wherever they live; and
• an increase in the rate of Council Tax Relief for military personnel serving on operations overseas from 25 to 50 per cent.
Mr Evennett said “We owe all our Armed Forces personnel a deep debt of gratitude for their service to our country. It is important that those who are still serving, or are retired, get the appropriate support they need with housing, healthcare and education for their children. I am pleased that the principles of the Covenant will be enshrined in law and that we are able to offer some additional support in this tough financial climate”
Yesterday’s statement also highlighted the other steps that the Coalition Government has taken to support our Armed Forces, including:
• doubling the Operational Allowance;
• including Service children within the Pupil Premium;
• introducing scholarships for the children of bereaved Service families; and
• taken action to improve mental healthcare.
You can read the Armed Forces Covenant publication here: http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/4E9E2014-5CE6-43F2-AE28-B6C5FA90B68F/0/Armed_Forces_Covenant.pdf