Boris Johnson has today announced a newly created Office for Veterans’ Affairs that will work with departments to coordinate and drive government policy on veterans’ welfare, spanning mental and physical health, education and employment.
This is the first time that veterans’ affairs will be overseen by dedicated ministers in the Cabinet Office to ensure the whole of government pulls together to deliver the life-long support our veterans deserve.
The Office for Veterans’ Affairs will be have two ministers – Oliver Dowden, who will be Minister representing veterans at Cabinet, and Johnny Mercer, who has been appointed Minister for Defence People and Veterans. In addition, Oliver Dowden will jointly chair the Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board with the Defence Secretary, to ensure no veteran is disadvantaged because of their service.
Ahead of the announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“The brave men and women who serve in our military truly represent the pinnacle of British character. We are rightly admired throughout the world for our Armed Forces, and it is a stain on our national conscience that any veteran who has served should be abandoned by the country they have fought so courageously to protect.
It is absolutely right that the government should do all it can to support our armed forces from the day they enlist and for the rest of their lives. Veterans have given so much to the UK. They have so much to offer our workplaces and wider society and it would be a dereliction of duty not to harness that potential.
By taking responsibility for the full gamut of veterans’ civilian lives – from ensuring they get the medical treatment they require, to further training and skills after they have transitioned from service to keep them in good jobs, to targeted interventions to prevent the scourge of veteran homelessness – Oliver Dowden, Johnny Mercer and our brand new Office for Veterans’ Affairs will do just that.”
Cllr Martin Rowley, who is an Armed Forces Advocate for the City of York Council, said:
“As someone who has served in the army, I feel this is a very positive move and a good step to ensure that the rights of armed forces personnel are protected, even after they have left active service.
Through working alongside the Royal British Legion and other organisations, I am aware how fortunate I am to have transitioned into civilian life successfully. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and I hope that the new Office for Veterans’ Affairs will work so that in the future no one falls through the cracks.
Brave men and women join our armed forces prepared to give their lives in defence of our country and our duty to them does not end when they are discharged, it lasts a lifetime. I hope this announcement is only the beginning of this Government honouring their duty to all our veterans and I will monitor the progress made by the Office of Veterans’ Affairs very closely.