The sixth annual Armed Forces Covenant Report has been published and is available to read for the general public…

In a foreword to the report, the Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson CBE MP, wrote: “In a post Iraq and Afghanistan era we are engaged in more operations across the globe than ever before and the legacy of past conflicts continues to be felt by our people. Despite this, the work of the Armed Forces is less prominent in the minds of the public, which is why for me, the principles of the Covenant are more relevant today than they have ever been.

“Delivering on a key manifesto commitment, the creation of a new Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board recognises this. As joint chair of the Board I will ensure it is able to hold Departments to account so we can deliver for Service personnel, Veterans and their families.

“The Covenant honours the sacrifices the Armed Forces Community make to keep us safe. This extends far beyond putting themselves on the line, as acknowledged in the Armed Forces Act 2011, the unique demands of Service life can cause disadvantage in comparison to the general population.

“It is vital that we acknowledge that Veterans, families and the bereaved have all made sacrifices, alongside serving personnel, that should continue to be recognised and wherever possible mitigated. This will be the guiding principle for our work.”

In addition to the Secretary for Defence’s comments, Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Defence People and Veterans added in the introduction: “I am proud of what the Covenant has achieved in its relatively short life to date, and was heartened by the shared determination of colleagues from across government and in the Devolved Administrations at the new Ministerial Armed Forces Covenant and Veterans Board to build on this success.

“The service charities and Families Federations, who I meet with regularly, are right to flag the areas where concerns remain, including Service accommodation, availability of childcare, alcohol problems amongst Veterans and how delivery of the Covenant is measured. Work is underway to address these and other issues and we will keep Parliament informed.”

Highlights of the achievements of the covenant in 2017 were:

  • Fairer mobile phone contracts, freezing the accounts of Armed Forces personnel and their families posted overseas and removing cancellation fees
  • Better deals in motor insurance, allowing personnel to keep their no claims bonuses and avoid cancellation fees when posted overseas at short notice
  • Better access to banking, such as savings accounts to Service families posted overseas
  • Tackling commercial disadvantage previously experienced by the Armed Forces community in relation to credit rating and access to mortgages on offer, allowing Service personnel posted overseas or in the UK to rent out their homes without having to switch to a ‘buy to let’ mortgage and incurring additional fees
  • Over 12,800 payments and £193 million advanced to Service Personnel through the Forces Help To Buy scheme, helping the Armed Forces community get on the property ladder
  • Committing over £22.5 million of Service Pupil Premium funding to benefit over 75,000 eligible pupils from Armed Forces families in primary and secondary schools
  • Employer networks in a wide range of sectors to support Service leavers through their transition to new careers
  • Better access to mentoring, work placements and employment opportunities for personnel leaving the Services
  • Increased funding and sponsorship of military charities and sports events such as the Invictus Games
  • Flexible paid or unpaid leave for mobilised Reservists
  • Employment support for Veterans, Reservists, Service spouses and partners, as well as support for Cadets
  • Discounts and special deals for individuals and their families

Read the full covenant report here.

Read about O2 becoming the 2000th company to sign the Armed Forces Covenant here.

All quotes used Crown Copyright.