Dear Brig Kamboj:
As I had anticipated, not it's official. The British PM has made a statement seeking to convert a military covenant into law, so affected members of the armed forces can take legal action, if government fails to abide by the law, that is, look after them and their families adequately. If you have time, please visit the following link.
I would have gladly written a critique, but have inadequate knowledge of the functioning of the AFT. Thanks.
Maj Gen K Bhimaya, 10th JSW Course
STATUTORY MILITARY COVENANT IN THE UNITED KINGDOM..
Dear Brig Kamboj,
The news of the United Kingdom officially recognising her duties and obligations towards the Armed Forces personnel has implications for all of us, not only the servicemen and the ex-servicemen in the United Kingdom.
Following on from the statement, “If you fight for your country, your country will look after you,” new homes will be built for ex servicemen, there will be free use of gym and leisure centres and priority in getting medical treatment. Please see the full news published in the "Sunday Telegraph", London, today. (Sunday, May 15, 2011): click here
Defence Correspondent 15 May 2011 The Sunday Telegraph by SEAN RAYMENT
BRITISH troops and their families will receive priority access to school places, NHS treatment and housing under new Military Covenant laws.
Details of the package to help services personnel will be unveiled to Parliament tomorrow in a statement by Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, after government lawyers and officials spent the weekend finalising them.
It is understood the measures will include an offer of free cycles of IVF treatment to military families where a soldier has suffered injuries which make it difficult to conceive – a common occurrence in Afghanistan, where many have been hurt by improvised explosive devices.
Troops serving overseas will no longer be required to pay full council tax, while a new chief coroner will be put in charge of conducting the inquests of war dead.
Service personnel posted to different parts of Britain will be promoted to the top of health service waiting lists if they fall ill. It is also understood that Ministry of Defence working committees are looking at ways of striking a deal with banks to offer troops low interest “military mortgages”.
The Military Covenant has, until now, been an unwritten agreement under which the state pledges a duty of care toward military personnel who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. It has never been enshrined in law and there has been increasing concern that Britain’s soldiers aren’t getting the health care, housing or pay they deserve.
Following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has been argued by both David Cameron and Dr Fox that the Covenant was broken by the then Labour government when it failed properly to equip troops for combat. Earlier this month, Mr Cameron was accused of backtracking on plans to “write the Covenant into law” when the third reading of the Armed Forces Bill was delayed.
The shelving of the Bill was understood to have been ordered afterTreasury lawyers warned that enshrining the Covenant in law could cost millions and would be beset by legal problems.
Under the latest proposals, while the Covenant measures will be written into law based on broad principles rather than specific statements of entitlement, there will be room for service personnel and veterans to ensure they have not been disadvantaged through military service.
Andrew Robathan, the defence minister overseeing the Armed Forces Bill, said the Coalition would “ensure the best possible treatment for all our service personnel, serving and retired”. He added: “We are putting the Military Covenant on a statutory basis for the first time.”
Last night Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary, said: “The Prime Minister appears to have finally done the right thing. I hope this marks the beginnings of a real reassessment of how the Government is treating our Armed Forces.
“We will now wait to hear the detail and will want to ensure that the principles of the Covenant are being properly set out in law,” he added. See page 23
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