6 ways we’re improving life for our veterans

Veterans are an asset to our society – their bravery, loyalty and professionalism deserve our full care and support.

Here are a few ways we’re improving life and caring for our veterans.

1) We have appointed a Scottish Veterans Commissioner

We were the first administration in the UK to have created such position, specially dedicated to ensuring veterans get the best deal possible. The current Commissioner, Charles Wallace, was appointed by Veterans Minister Graeme Day in autumn 2018. An Army veteran with 35 years of service, he is dedicated to promoting the interests of former members of the armed forces.

2) We’re helping veterans into employment

The SNP Scottish Government provide funding for the Supporting Veterans into Employment initiative. The scheme is delivered by Business in the Community, which encourages businesses of all sizes and sectors to proactively recruit and benefit from employing veterans in the civilian workforce. A series of events will also be held to enable employers to network, share ideas, and connect with veterans and the Armed Forces community.

What’s more, we’re committed to each Jobcentre Plus district having an “Armed Forces Champion”, and to continuing the exemption from the household benefit cap.

3) We’re investing to provide advice and practical support to Scottish veterans

We have also established the Scottish Veterans Fund to support projects that provide a wide range of advice and practical support to veterans across Scotland. This fund has awarded in excess of £1.3 million to veterans and ex-services charities across Scotland to projects that promote employment, social inclusion, health and wellbeing for veterans and their families.

4) We’re improving access to full pensions

To provide practical support for veterans requiring social care, the Scottish Government changed the rules to ensure the War Disablement Pension is exempt from the assessment of income – meaning our veterans get the help they need and keep the full value of this pension.

5) Recognising the veteran status

In September 2018, following the Royal British Legion’s ‘Count Them In’ campaign, the Scottish Government became the first government in the UK to commit to including a question about veteran status in the census, in order to make identifying and supporting veterans easier.

6) Building a world-leading mental health provision

We must ensure all veterans enjoy a state of positive physical and mental health, to enable them to contribute to wider aspects of society. The most recent Scottish review from Forces in Mind, a veteran’s mental health charity, said:

“Scotland has one of the most robust mental health and related provision for veterans in the UK, with a thriving specialist statutory and voluntary sector that has been supported and resourced by the Scottish Government.

Veterans are treated with respect, compassion and dignity – overall, the mental health services provided are of a good standard.”

And our ambition to provide world-leading mental health services doesn’t end there.
The SNP Scottish Government continue to invest in mental health – we’re increasing funding for specialist and community outreach mental health services, and we will provide extra £1.6 million over the next year to support the Veterans First Point services network.