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Last week, we launched the Veterans Pledge, outlining three crucial areas that Help for Heroes believes the next Prime Minister needs to address if they are to improve the lives of veterans and the Armed Forces community.

Over the first few weeks of the election campaign, the UK’s political leaders have all outlined the importance of veterans and members of the Armed Forces. The rhetoric is clear: our veterans and their families are owed a huge debt of gratitude, should be treated with fairness and respect, and must be properly supported. 

Party leaders have committed to delivering a range of policies, including a number from Help for Heroes own 2024 policy manifesto. Most notably:

The Conservative Party have committed to maintaining the Office for Veterans’ Affairs including a dedicated Cabinet-attending Veterans Minister; discounting War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme awards as income for the purpose of benefits and pensions, and introducing a new Veterans’ Bill, which will widen the scope of the Armed Forces Covenant into law to include the UK Government and devolved administrations.

Labour have committed to strengthening support for our Armed Forces communities by putting the Armed Forces Covenant fully into law and establishing an independent Armed Forces Commissioner to improve service life. Labour will also ensure veterans have access to the support they need including across mental health, employment, and housing. They have also pledged to scrap visa fees for non-UK veterans who have served for four or more years and their dependents.

The Liberal Democrats have committed to strengthening the Armed Forces Covenant; waiving application fees for indefinite leave for members of the armed forces on discharge, and their families, and ensuring that military compensation for illness or injury does not count towards means-testing for benefits.

Veterans Pledge

After years of engagement with politicians from all sides, this is progress, but we are disappointed that no commitment has been made to review the medical discharge process, that the future of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs remains uncertain, and that there is still a lack of resolution to address barriers to compensation and benefits.    

We urge all Party Leaders to sign the Veterans Pledge to...

1. Keep the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, led by a cabinet attending minister. If the next administration is serious about making the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran, it must give veterans a voice at the heart of Government, with a minister reporting directly to the Prime Minister.

2. Commission an independent review of the medical discharge process. Veterans continue to tell us that the medical discharge process is still not working. There are major inconsistencies and gaps when service personnel leave the military due to injury or illness, which shows the medical discharge process needs urgent reform.

3. Remove unfair barriers to receiving benefits and compensation. Too many veterans are having to fight the system to get the compensation and financial support they deserve – often while battling physical or mental illness and injuries from service.

Nearly 20,000 people have shown their support for the Veterans Pledge since it was launched last week. There are now under three weeks to go until the election. Together, we can make sure the next government, whoever they may be, commits to supporting veterans and their families. But party leaders need to know voters care about veterans and that now is the time to act.

Help us make that happen by adding your signature and joining the call below.