Baroness Buscombe: Today is a day to show our support for those Armed Forces, and their families, who serve our country
On Armed Forces Day, let us pause and give thanks to today’s Armed Forces, veterans and their families, and continue to give them our support, says Baroness Buscombe.
Today is a day to show our support for those Armed Forces, and their families, who serve our country.
We owe a debt of gratitude them. Our country is rightly proud of its Armed Forces and we recognise the debt we owe those who serve in them. People from all walks of life serve their country in a variety of wide-ranging roles, including mechanics, chefs and of course soldiers and officers. Indeed 55 DWP staff serve in the Armed Forces Reserves and I met with some of those colleagues this week, including Work Coach Andrew Matthews who has completed operations in Afghanistan in his eight years’ of service. He believes his army experience has helped him develop his leadership and teamwork skills which he uses in his Jobcentre role.
This Government enshrined the Armed Forces Covenant in law – so our local services, jobs support, healthcare, schools and community services support our servicemen and service women and their families – and continue to do so after they have left the Armed Forces.
We want our servicemen and servicewomen to be able to get on and make lives for themselves after they have left the Armed Forces, so they can have security for their children. The Veterans community are in high demand from employers because of the skills, experiences and ethos they bring to any organisation, however there are those who find the transition challenging, which is why I am proud of the work our Armed Forces Champions and other Jobcentre Plus staff do up-and-down the country supporting former personnel into work.
I understand how tough it can be once you leave the Armed Forces. Getting a new job so you can get on and have the security of a paycheque is a vital step in that journey to adapting to ‘civilian’ life.
Our network of Jobcentre Plus Armed Forces Champions support Jobcentre staff in helping ex-service personnel by making sure they have they support they need, like CV advice, suggestions for new career paths and interview tips. Jobcentres also support the spouses or partners of existing service personnel, who may find it difficult to get a job due to the sometimes changeable working patterns of their partners.
While we do all we can to help veterans move into meaningful employment, we are also ensuring that they get all the benefits they’re entitled to if they are sick, injured or unable to work. The Armed Forces Independence Payment is specifically and solely aimed at members of the armed forces who have been seriously injured as a result of military service. We’ve ensured that once awarded, this benefit is on-going without the need for separate and regular disability assessments.
It’s not just local jobcentres, schools, health professionals and local authorities supporting those who fighting for our country. We must recognise the hundreds of voluntary organisations and businesses across the country doing their bit to back our Armed Forces, from counselling support to providing employment opportunities.
So today, let us pause and give thanks to today’s Armed Forces, veterans and their families, and continue to give them our support.
Baroness Buscombe is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Lords).