West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has slammed the Government for breaking their pledge to help personnel, veterans and their families find work after they leave the Armed Forces.
In 2019, the Government announced plans to employ 100 specialist advisers – or ‘Armed Forces Champions’ – in job centres across the country. But Ministers now admit that just half that number will be hired.
The change means that there will be just one Armed Forces Champion to support every 14,000 working age veterans into employment. And a single specialist adviser could be set to cover all job centres in Lancashire.
The unemployment rate for veterans is 7%, almost double the level for the general population at 4.8%. In West Lancashire area alone, there are 1,674 working age veterans.
Ministers have faced criticism from Labour and Service charities that their Armed Forces Bill doesn’t provide any further assistance to Forces personnel, veterans and their families to gain employment. The Government told its MPs to vote against a Labour amendment to widen the scope of the Bill at Report Stage to include provisions to support veterans into work.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper commented:
“It is clear that Forces personnel, veterans and their families in West Lancashire need more support to find work yet the Government have broken their pledge to provide specialist advice.
“This is yet another example of Ministers failing to match their words with action.
“I will continue to work with and support veterans and veterans groups in West Lancashire.”
Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey commented:
“Ministers are failing our Forces personnel and veterans. They have outstanding skills from their military service but many need help to get civilian employers to see their talents or to deal with problems in getting work.
“Labour want to see Ministers do more to support our veterans get work and successful civilian careers.”
- “Up to £6 million of investment will mean the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can fund more than 100 ‘Armed Forces Champion’ posts, dedicated to supporting former service personnel and their spouses readjust to civilian life. The champions will be stationed across the country.”
- “These Armed Forces Champions Leads will oversee 50 Armed Forces Champions across the Jobcentre Plus network (including at least one in each of the 37 Jobcentre Plus Districts), who will have specific responsibilities for supporting members of the Armed Forces Community as part of their job.”
How many working age veterans are in your local authority/region: https://covenantfund.org.uk/geographical-reports/
Number of job centres in each jobcentre district: