The MoD Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2015 has been presented to Parliament, detailing the progress and successes of the past year.
This is the fourth annual Covenant report and the programme of work to deliver the Covenant continues at pace. The volume of activity that surrounds the Covenant is testimony to the commitment, right across society, to support the Armed Forces community.
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.
More than 750 organisations have signed a Corporate Covenant, pledging specific support for the Armed Forces Community such as help with transition from Service to civilian life through work placement opportunities, and training courses.
The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Secretary of State for Defence said: “In my second annual report since becoming Defence Secretary, I am pleased to look back at the significant progress that the Covenant has made. While we have collectively achieved a great deal, I know there remains much to do to ensure the Covenant fulfills the nation’s promise to support the brave men and women who serve our country, with honour and distinction. It is a long term aim, and this Government is committed to its long term delivery.
Successful delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant has no end date. The unique nature of Service life means there will always be elements of hardship and some disadvantage, but we have pledged to ensure that, through the Armed Forces Covenant, we will do our utmost for our people” – Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP
The principles of the Covenant have delivered lasting change for the armed forces community.
Key successes of 2015 include:
- Launched a £500K research programme to improve detection and treatment of Noise Induced Hearing Loss amongst Service personnel.
- Allocated £2M to set up a pilot NHS Specialist Rehabilitation Unit in Stanmore.
- Allocated £5M to investigate the psychological impact of battlefield injuries.
- Allocated funding from a £20M budget to improve childcare facilities for Service families.
- Allocated over £20M in Service Pupil Premium payments this year to support the pastoral needs of 60,000 Service pupils in state schools in England.
- Issued grants to 154 applicants for Education Support Funding to help schools mitigate and manage issues caused by exceptional mobility and deployment.
- Given £76M to help 5,000 personnel to buy or improve their home.
- Spent £65Million upgrading and improving 185 SFA properties.
- Invested over £14M to deliver a significant change in occupational health services for reservists.
- Provided reservists and their families 1/3 off rail fares.
- Agreed that Military spouses reaching State Pension age from 6 April 2016 will be able to apply for the new national insurance credits to cover periods from 1975 that they have spent accompanying their Service partner on postings outside the UK.
- Introduced an allowance to enable the cost of Foreign and Commonwealth personnel registering a birth as British to be funded at public expense.
- Launched a new Career Transition Partnership contract to support Service leavers translate their skills, experience and qualifications into a successful civilian career
- Confirmed that funding for the nine enhanced prosthetic centres for veterans will continue.
- The Government has allocated £10M to the Royal British Legion to launch a veterans’ hearing fund; and
- a further £3M to help veterans access high specification wheelchairs.
- Launched a new £10M annual Covenant fund to support Covenant commitments.
- Launched a new aged Veterans fund, which will fund projects that support non-core health, wellbeing and social care needs for older veterans.
- Allocated £50M to support Cadet expansion
To find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant and what it means to you visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/ policies/armed-forces-covenant