A Fair Deal for Our Armed Forces Community

23 Sep 2023

These are people who have put their lives on the line in defence of our liberty and our democracy. Yet sometimes the Government can’t even get the basics right in return, like access to decent housing.

The families of service personnel are too frequently an afterthought. Spouses only receive important information about their lives - where they are moving to for example - secondhand, through their serving partner. Clearly, all members of the armed forces community should be treated as individuals with aspirations of their own.

And we will all be familiar with how some veterans fall through gaps in support and are all too often unable to get the help they need - especially for those who suffer from mental ill health. 

For female service personnel, the prevalence of sexual harassment and misogyny faced in the armed forces is simply unacceptable. This issue has not been adequately addressed, reflecting a lack of moral courage within parts of the armed forces, in spite of good intentions across the services.

This unfair treatment is damaging retention and recruitment of the best talent for our Armed Forces, impacting ultimately on the last guarantee of our freedoms. Liberal Democrats firmly believe that it's time for a fair deal for our armed forces personnel, veterans, and their families.

That’s why today Liberal Democrat members have passed a new policy to ensure a fair deal for the armed forces community. 

  1. Strengthening the Armed Forces Covenant: Placing a legal duty on government departments to give due regard to the Armed Forces covenant.
  2. Improving Housing: Rigorously reviewing maintenance contracts for Ministry of Defence housing and establishing a minimum quality standard for Single Living Accommodation.
  3. Empowering Families: Establishing a centralised information hub for families of service personnel. Reaching an agreement with the European Union for reciprocal access to spousal employment for families of service personnel.
  4. Promoting Diversity: Reviewing Armed Forces recruitment processes to boost diversity within the Forces, ensuring that steps are taken to foster a more inclusive environment.
  5. Protecting Women:  Implementing the recommendations of the Atherton Report on Women in the Armed Forces.
  6. Stronger Defence: Cancelling the Conservative Government’s ill-advised cut to the Army.

This community - made up of service personnel and their families who have dedicated themselves to protecting our liberties, must be given the respect and support they deserve.

No more sewage-filled homes, no more mental health service gaps, and no more lack of access to essential information.

This is a commitment to a fair deal for 1.8 million veterans, a commitment to standing with 150,000 serving personnel and their families, and a commitment to honouring their sacrifices. And I’m proud that our party is leading the way in giving this community a fair deal.




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