New Frontline Report Veterans 2016 SSAFA
When a young man or woman volunteers to become a soldier, sailor or airman, he or she understands that they may have to take risks and make personal sacri ces on our behalf.
Our servicemen and women accept that reality and embrace it.
During a lifetime spent in the Armed Forces, and particularly as the Chief of the Defence Staff, I witnessed this attitude rsthand; acts of heroism and sel essness performed by inspirational people who believed it was all in the line of duty.
In recent years the relationship between the Armed Forces and society has changed, with fewer and fewer individuals having either served themselves or knowing friends or relatives who have served. This had led to increasing numbers of servicemen and women suspecting that political leaders do not necessarily understand the difference between military and civilian life and too many veterans now feel that they and their service are taken for granted.
As a result of this, the Military Covenant was written into British law in 2011. It was a welcome recognition by the Government that servicemen and women, veterans and their families would
not be disadvantaged as a result of their service. However, at that time I also cautioned the House
of Lords how dif cult it would be to honour that promise without making a continuous commitment to the Covenant.
Although much progress has been made since then, this report from SSAFA makes for sober reading. It serves as a timely reminder that there are still improvements to be made and that the transition to civilian life is not always straightforward.
In particular, it identi es a group of veterans who feel undervalued and under-appreciated, who are slipping through the net when we as a society could prevent that happening.
Consequently, this research into the experiences of working age veterans is long overdue and its recommendations have my utmost support. We simply must do better for those who have served our nation.