Support for the Veterans and Armed Forces Community 2023

This report highlights our continuing support for the Veterans and Armed Forces community in Scotland and provides an update on this year’s achievements and work undertaken to improve support and access to services for our Armed Forces, Veterans and their families.

Key Highlights

Collaboration and Co-ordination

We have agreed to fund the Unforgotten Forces Consortium for a further three years up to 2025-26, providing a total of £950,000, to continue supporting their work to improve the lives of veterans over the age of 60 across Scotland.

The £500,000 Scottish Veterans Fund launched a new, three year funding round from 2023-24. Seventeen projects have been funded for 2023-24, six of which offer support to veterans impacted by the cost of living crisis and two supporting Early Service Leavers.

We continue to fund the Scottish Veterans Commissioner (SVC) and remain fully supportive of her work and the priorities she has set in her new three-year Strategic Plan.

We remain committed to working with the UK Government (UKG) and other Devolved Governments, especially in support of the delivery of those UKG Veterans Strategy Action Plan commitments which affect veterans across the UK.


We have worked with National Records of Scotland (NRS) to develop analytical proposals and outputs for the veterans Census question. NRS aims to begin publishing topic data from the Census from summer 2024.

The first veterans-related findings from the three Scottish Government major household surveys – Scottish Household Survey, Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and the Scottish Health Survey – will be available in late 2023.

We worked with the UK Government and the other Devolved Governments to develop and facilitate the first UK-wide Veterans’ Survey. First findings are expected in 2023.

Perception and Recognition

This year we launched a campaign working with the business community to help employers understand the benefits that veterans bring to the workforce.

This year we launched the Medals Replacement Scheme, under which we will fund the cost of replacing lost or stolen medals for eligible veterans resident in Scotland.

Community and Relationships

An updated version of Welcome to Scotland was published in April 2023 following extensive consultation with the Armed Forces and Forces Families Federations as well as third and public sector organisations.

We welcomed the publication of Lord Etherton’s independent LGBT Veterans Review and its two suggestions for Scotland.

The Social Isolation and Loneliness Delivery Plan ‘Recovering Our Connections’ was published on 8 March 2023. Included in the plan is a commitment to “engage with veterans’ organisations and make use of available data and outcomes to better identify how we can support the Armed Forces community to strengthen social connections”.

Employment, Education and Skills

We provided additional funding in 2022-23 for the continued development of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership’s military skills discovery tool which was formally launched at Edinburgh Castle in early 2023.

Through phase two delivery of No One Left Behind we continue to offer employment support services for those facing significant challenges when leaving the Armed Forces, providing tailored individual wrap-around support which some Service leavers may need.

We remain committed to increasing the number of veterans we employ and continue to explore a number of ways to achieve this including through the Going Forward into Employment programme and Guaranteed Interview Scheme, which was introduced this year. There are now over 100 self-declared veterans working within the Scottish Government.

Finance and Debt

During 2023, Social Security Scotland hosted two events with Veterans Welfare Rights Advisors. At these events we explained the benefits we deliver, including our disability benefits.

The application form for Adult Disability Payment asks clients about their possible entitlement to Armed Forces Independence Payment, War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement and War Pension Constant Attendance Allowance.

Health and Wellbeing

The Armed Forces and Veterans General Practice Recognition Scheme has been piloted and the principles and vision for the Scottish Veterans Treatment Pathway (SVTP) have been agreed.

In June, Public Health Scotland published ‘Drug and Alcohol Information System: Overview of Initial Assessments for Specialist Drug and Alcohol Treatment 2021-22 and 2022-23’. This is an official statistics release which reported that in 2021-22, 3% of people starting treatment for substance use reported having ever served in the Armed Forces.

Making a Home in Civilian Society

Funding can be made available through our Affordable Housing Supply Programme to deliver homes specifically for veterans where Local Authorities identify this as a strategic priority.

Open Market Shared Equity Scheme continues to classify veterans as a priority access applicant group who do not need to be first time buyers to qualify for support.

We continue to support Housing Options Scotland, which includes the Military Matters project amongst the services it provides.

Veterans and the Law

We continue to engage with the network of VICSOs and have been invited to attend the annual VICSO meeting for the past two years.

This year we have re-engaged with SACRO as they consider how best to re-invigorate their Veterans Mentoring Service Strategic Oversight Group, of which we were previously a member.

Police Scotland’s long standing internal programme of Veterans Champions continues and more have been appointed throughout Scotland this year. Their primary role continues to be promoting the bespoke referral mechanism with the Armed Services Advice Project.



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