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Defence Defence

Maintain and strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant

Last updated: 08:58am 31 December 2018

We will maintain and strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.42

Our verdict

The Armed Forces Covenant was published in 2011 and enshrined in law in the Armed Forces Act 2011. Since that time, it has formed the core of government policy towards veterans. It promises that:

  • veterans will face no disadvantage compared to other citizens
  • special consideration is sometimes appropriate for veterans

Established in 2015, the Covenant Fund, administered by an independent trust since April 2018, provides £10 million per annum to help support veterans and those currently in the armed forces.

This policy promises to both maintain and strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Covenant Fund continues to receive funding and the breadth of information related to the Covenant available from government sources is testament to a maintained commitment.

In terms of “strengthening” the Covenant, a cross-government Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans Board was established in October 2017.

In April 2018, the Defence Secretary launched a Veterans Strategy to tackle “veterans’ homelessness, loneliness, debt problems, and mental health issues”, and a Veterans Unit to “champion the changing needs of the ex-service community”. Ministers were allocated to lead on veterans issues and the Covenant.

The annual report on the Covenant details significant initiatives in 2018 and outlines future commitments. However, it also notes concerns expressed by services groups, pointing to areas requiring further effort to meet the aims of the Covenant.

Overall, maintained funding and a commitment to broadening the impact of the Armed Forces Covenant mean this policy is ‘in progress’. To move it to ‘done’ we would expect a continued effort throughout the government’s term to address the concerns of services charities and families’ groups. Follow this policy to keep up to date.

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