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Armed Forces Covenant

Defence written question – answered on 24th November 2011.

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Photo of Gavin Shuker Gavin Shuker Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department plans to (a) interpret and (b) apply the Military Covenant under the terms of the Armed Forces Act 2010.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The previous Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend Dr Fox, announced the publication of the new tri-service armed forces covenant on 16 May 2011, Hansard , columns 25-27, setting out the key relationships between the armed forces, the Government and the nation. The covenant set out the principles of removing disadvantage in the access to public and commercial services and making special provision in some circumstances. It sets a framework for policy making and delivery across Government and will improve the support available for the armed forces community.

The new Armed Forces Act 2011 creates the requirement for an annual armed forces covenant report to Parliament. It specifies that the armed forces covenant report must cover the areas of health care, education, housing and inquests, as well as any other topics which the Secretary of State for Defence thinks appropriate. When considering what will be covered, the Secretary of State for Defence will have regard to the full range of topics which were identified as within the scope of the armed forces covenant when it was published.

The statutory requirement for an annual armed forces covenant report comes into effect from 2012. However we plan to publish an interim report this year, which will provide a useful baseline for the statutory reports that will follow.

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