Op-ed: A message to veterans’ and their families

We have committed to making the United Kingdom the best country in the world to be a veteran by 2028.

It is an ambition we must deliver.

And having just been appointed Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, it is my job to drive it forward and I will make myself accountable to veterans and their families for doing so. While veteran’s care has advanced significantly over the last fifteen years, I recognise that this has not been felt equally by everybody, or experienced equally across every community of the UK.

Today’s announcement of a £5m investment in veterans’ healthcare will help. And huge strides have been made to meet the increase in demand for support since 2003, with thousands of brilliant people working incredibly hard – often as volunteers – to improve life after service for our veterans. We know that the vast majority of our veterans go on to live fulfilled and empowered lives after service. They make fantastic employees, go on to great careers, give back to their communities and hugely benefit from their time in military service.

But some veterans do face deep struggles. And in this role, I will relentlessly strive to forge a path towards ensuring that everyone who needs help knows where to turn, and is met by good-quality, evidence-based care that will improve their lives. The Office for Veterans’ Affairs has achieved great things since it was launched by the Prime Minister in 2019. We are already taking action to protect veterans from vexatious legal pursuit into old age.

We are delivering England’s first complete mental health care pathway for veterans and we have a set of bold commitments in the Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan to improve veteran healthcare, employment, access to digital services and more. We may well find ourselves right now at a point of political uncertainty. But whatever the outcome of the coming weeks, I will continue to push to ensure the Government delivers on that step change in support to veterans to ensure it is felt by everyone who has served and sacrificed so much.

Office for Veterans Affairs