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Armed Forces Covenant

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 121387, tabled on 26 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Armed Forces Covenant in supporting veterans in (a) Dudley, (b) the Black Country and (c) the UK.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

7 December 2020

This Government is committed to making the UK the best place to be a veteran and to do more to ensure that each veteran is valued, contributing and supported. This is why we published the Strategy for our Veterans in November 2018, and its Action Plan in January 2020, and have been working with a range of partners, including those in local Government, to make this vision a reality: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/strategy-for-our-veterans

Our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant has seen tangible progress in 2020, including through the launch of the Veterans Gateway app in May, which provides local information on services available to support veterans. Since signing the Armed Forces Covenant, we have worked closely with Dudley Council through our local liaison officers and the Council now guarantees job interviews to Service leavers and veterans who meet the minimum criteria. All past and serving personnel and their families also qualify for the half price Options Leisure Plus scheme at sports halls, swimming pools and most events at borough halls. In June, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government published new statutory guidance for local authorities to further improve access to social housing for members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

Dudley Council now allows any veteran or Service leaver family applying for social housing to have their service years classed as years spent on its housing waiting list. All four Black Country Local Authorities are participating in the West Midlands working group supporting the Covenant legislation engagement process, ahead of the legislation being introduced to Parliament in the Armed Forces Bill next year.