Labour has launched its nationwide listening campaign to link up with veterans and their families and shape our plans for the next general election.
Labour is deeply proud of our Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and their families for the enormous contribution they make to our country. That’s why Labour MPs, councillors, candidates and members from across the UK will be holding Veterans’ Voice events in their area over the coming months.
Veterans’ Voice will put veterans and their family members at the heart of our plans for the next election. Events will provide veterans and their family members the opportunity to share their experiences and actively shape our party’s future policy and campaigns.
We want to continue strengthening Labour’s links with the Armed Forces community. I kicked off Veterans’ Voice in Telford last week with Labour’s parliamentary candidate, Cllr Shaun Davies, and Labour Friends of the Forces. It was clear that the current government is failing to deliver the support the wider armed forces community expects and deserves.
Since being appointed shadow minister for veterans and defence people last year, veterans and their families have told me how, after making great personal sacrifices for the UK’s safety and security, they feel let down by the Conservatives. The Conservative Party has repeatedly broken promises to our veterans throughout its thirteen years in government.
The grand promise to make “the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran”, is just empty rhetoric. Missed waiting time targets on veterans’ mental health, the failure to deliver ID cards to speed up access to vital services, and former personnel reporting negative experiences when claiming compensation. These are the real-life consequences of a Conservative government.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the government’s Armed Forces Act, which places a legal duty to deliver the Armed Forces Covenant on public bodies from councils to school governors but lets ministers off the hook.
Labour amended the bill to force the Conservatives to take responsibility, but they voted it down.The Tories have refused to guarantee they will keep the important promises we make to veterans in areas they are directly responsible for, like employment, pensions, compensation and social care.
Our nation’s heroes deserve far better from their government. Labour will fix the failures of the past thirteen years. As part of our plan for government, we will fully incorporate the Armed Forces Covenant into law and scrap visa fees for non-UK veterans and their families after four years of service. We will also boost specialist support and reduce waiting times for veterans’ mental health services as part of our wider £1 billion commitment to ensure everyone receives treatment within a month.
Veterans’ Voice represents a commitment by Labour to the wider armed forces community that we will work with them to ensure they receive the support they deserve. The next Labour government will stand side-by-side with veterans and their families, fulfilling the important promises our society makes to those who serve.
Labour members who want to run a Veterans’ Voice event in their area can download a campaign pack, social media graphic and postcard here. Members of the armed forces community can register their interest by following this link.
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