Armed forces minister urged to ensure financial support for veterans

It was revealed that almost 3,000 Armed Forces personnel have had to claim Universal Credit.

Armed forces minister urged to ensure financial support for veterans iStock

The UK’s Armed Forces minister has been urged to provide assurances that financial support will be made available to serving personnel and veterans to help them cope with the cost of living.

It comes after it was revealed that almost 3,000 members of the Armed Forces have had to claim Universal Credit amid the crisis.

Scotland’s veterans minister Keith Brown has written to his UK counterpart, James Heappey, to raise concerns about the support available.

Brown described the rise in the number of benefits claimants among serving Armed Forces personnel as “shocking”.

The SNP’s depute leader also underlined the Scottish Government’s “unwavering support” to the country’s veterans, as he accused the UK Government of failing to provide appropriate financial support.

A Veterans Strategy Action was launched by the UK Government in January this year, including more than 60 commitments and backed by an extra £70bn.

Around 800 veterans have also been offered employment through the UK Government’s Great Place to Work scheme.

Graeme Dey, who previously served as minister for veterans in the Scottish Government, insisted that veterans “deserve so much better” than being faced with struggling to make ends meet.

“The Tories are failing too many of those who have served the country,” said the SNP MSP.

“They may talk the talk regarding valuing this group but the appalling number of veterans requiring Universal Credit just to get by demonstrates in the starkest terms that they simply don’t walk the walk.

“The idea that someone who has perhaps risked their lives or been left with a physical or mental legacy from military service, comes home and is left struggling to make ends meet is reprehensible.

“They deserve so much better than that which is why I welcome the Scottish Government writing to the UK Government to urge them to do more.”

Dey added: “The Scottish Government has proved its support for returning personnel through the Veterans Strategy Action Plan, which looks to ensure that veterans enter appropriate employment and enhance their careers.

“I hope the UK Government can show the same level of support.”

A UK Government spokesperson explained that there is “bespoke” employment support provided to those leaving the Armed Forces when leaving service.

“While the vast majority of veterans transition successfully into civilian life, it’s important we support those who may need more help,” they said.

“That is why bespoke employment support is provided when leaving the Armed Forces and the Government is providing tax relief to employers who hire veterans.”

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