Support for Veterans and the Armed Forces community: report 2017

This document sets out the work that is being done to respond to the recommendations made in the Scottish Veterans Commissioner’s first three reports.

1. Introduction

Here in Scotland we have a proud military history and our Armed Forces community continues to be held in high regard. The last few years in particular have provided momentous occasions for people across Scotland to come together; to reflect and remember the sacrifices of our Armed Forces, past and present and to recognise the contribution that our serving personnel, reservists and veterans continue to make to our communities.

For example, First World War commemorations [1] to date have included the Drumhead Service marking the start of the war; the Quintinshill Rail Disaster; Scotland's entry to the Gallipoli campaign; the Battle of Loos; the Battle of Jutland (both in South Queensferry and in Orkney) and the Battle of Arras centenary. Commemoration events will continue to be supported until we mark the end of the First World War through a service to mark the centenary of the sinking of HMY Iolaire on 1 January 2019.

The Scottish Government remains committed to giving Scotland's Armed Forces, veterans and their families our full support and will continue to help maximise the opportunities available to them; and to ensure they are not disadvantaged when accessing services.

There are approximately 237,000 veterans [2] in Scotland today. They range in age, social background and length of service. Many live in our cities, settling close to military bases, but some are spread in some of the most rural and remote locations. Our commitment to support for our Armed Forces community also reaches beyond this immediate number to spouses and families and those currently serving. This diversity provides challenges in terms of service design, but also opportunities and we are committed to pursuing a fully inclusive approach.

Last year we published Renewing Our Commitments [3] setting out our achievements and identifying future priorities. Since its publication, we have continued to work collaboratively with our partners in the public, private and third sectors, Local Authorities, as well as the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces in Scotland to deliver support where it is needed most. Our ambition remains to make Scotland the destination of choice for Service Leavers and families through offering high living standards, access to housing, good jobs and opportunities for skills development.

This document sets out our current achievements and future priorities, and highlights the work that the Scottish Government is taking forward to respond to the recommendations made in the Scottish Veterans Commissioner's three reports: Transition in Scotland [4] the Provision of Information on Housing for Service Leavers and Veterans in Scotland [5] in 2015 and the Veterans Community - Employability, Skills and Learning [6] in 2016.

An overview of the progress made against each of these reports is set out below and includes a general update on additional work being undertaken in support of our Armed Forces, veterans and their families.


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