The Armed Forces Covenant annual report 2014 has been presented to Parliament, detailing the progress and successes of the past year.
In 2014, over £100 million has been awarded through the Armed Forces Covenant to projects and schemes that benefit personnel, veterans and armed forces families.
The government is committed to ensuring that serving and former members of the armed forces, and their families, are not disadvantaged by their service and that they are given special consideration in some cases. The Covenant was enshrined in law in 2011.
This third annual report sets out the key achievements of 2014 and areas where more can be done.
It is encouraging that the value of the Covenant has continued to grow, and that every local authority in Great Britain and more than 370 businesses have signed up to the Community and Corporate Covenants respectively.
“This is my first annual report since becoming Defence Secretary in July 2014, and I am extremely pleased with progress over the past year. It once again demonstrates this government’s commitment to delivering our obligations under the Armed Forces Covenant.
We pledge to ensure that through the Covenant we will do the absolute best we can for our people.”
The principles of the Covenant have delivered lasting change for the armed forces community.
Key successes of 2014 include:
- From 1 April 2015, widows, widowers and surviving civil partners will retain their pensions for life if they remarry
- A £40 million veterans accommodation fund was launched
- The Forces Help to Buy scheme, which began on 1 April 2014. By the end of November 2014, 1,900 service personnel had benefited and a further 1,400 military personnel had their applications approved by MOD. The scheme has paid out over £29 million to applicants
- The Department of Education allocating £17.4 million to support the needs of 58,000 pupils from service families
- The MOD Education Support Fund increasing to £6 million per year and the fund extended to 2017-18
- The majority of the recommendations of Lord Ashcroft’s Transition Review have been implemented
- The Defence Relationship Management Organisation was launched to provide a dedicated team of professionals to coordinate engagement with employers
- The £138 million Midlands Medical Accommodation project has been completed to establish a world-class centre of excellence for the training and delivery of Defence Medical Services
- The Defence Reform Act 2014 gave reserve personnel better protection in civilian employment, together with improved terms and conditions of service
- More than 250 spouses have benefited from 2 Libor funded career assistance programmes, the Royal British Legion Industries Lifeworks for Families and the University of Wolverhampton ‘Supporting the Unsung Heroes’