While we are concerned about the lack of financial support for the NHS, Social Care services and the Charity sector in general, we welcome the support to the veteran community demonstrated in yesterday’s Budget. This follows a meeting between Help for Heroes CEO Melanie Waters and the Chancellor at the end of last year alongside charity partners to discuss the impact of the pandemic on veterans’ charities.
We are pleased that an additional £10m has been committed to veteran mental health support via the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, following the devastating impact of the pandemic. This will ensure veterans can continue to access vital services and support.
The commitment of up to £475,000 to Armed Forces charities to support the development of a digital and data strategy for the sector is a welcome first step, but further investment will be needed to truly transform digital delivery of support. This will ensure relevant services are accessible to veterans living with life-changing illness and injury, when they need them.
We are disappointed that an extension to the Veterans Mobility Fund programme was not included in the Budget, and we will continue to call on HM Treasury to provide this. We know that mobility issues are one of the most reported challenges experienced by the ex-Service community and this has increased in recent years. The Fund provides opportunities for wounded veterans to be mobile and independent, which are essential in enabling them to live secure and healthy lives with purpose. We believe the need for this Fund is growing, not diminishing.
We are absolutely committed to our wounded and their families and will continue fighting for, and changing the lives of, those we support for as long as they need it.