January 22, 2020
As was part of our manifesto, we pledged to provide veterans with a new railcard this year - which will open up more opportunities for them and help to improve the lives of their families by giving them cheaper travel. And now, we have delivered.
Our armed forces are vital to our nation’s security and we have a duty to repay the extraordinary commitment and courage shown by the men and women who defend our nation.
The veteran’s railcard, available from Armistice Day this year, will provide cheaper train travel to 830,000 veterans. It forms part of our wider Veterans action plan published today, which will outline a raft of measures to ensure veterans have access to the support they need to thrive after serving their country.
Rt Hon Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary and MP for Welwyn Hatfield, said:
“Every part of society should honour the debt we owe those who’ve served our country. I’m proud that the Department for Transport, together with other government colleagues and the rail industry, is doing its bit.
“This railcard will help open up opportunities to veterans, whether through employment and retraining, or by strengthening links with friends and family. I believe that enabling former service personnel to travel more easily is the least we can do.”
Since the Prime Minster entered Downing Street, we have made supporting our veterans a priority. We legislated to give the Armed Forces Covenant a statutory foundation, and have introduced a requirement for the Secretary of State for Defence to annually report to Parliament on progress delivering those Covenant commitments.
We have invested £10 million into the Covenant Fund, helping to remove barriers to family life, provide extra support to those that need help after service and providing extra healthcare support for veterans.
And in July 2019 we opened the new Office of Veteran Affairs (OVA) to coordinate and hold other parts of Government to account for delivering the Armed Forces Covenant. We are taking action to address veterans’ mental and physical health, supporting them in education and employment and tackling veteran homelessness.
This commitment to veterans included the Prime Minister formally appointing Oliver Dowden as the Cabinet Minister representing veterans, alongside Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer. The Office of Veteran Affairs was instrumental in helping to deliver this new Veterans' Railcard.
This One Nation Government will always prioritise those men and women who serve our nation, ensuring they feel full the support of our nation’s gratitude.
Oliver Dowden said as part of today’s announcement:
“Our new action plan will help to make the UK the best place in the world for veterans.
“The Office for Veterans’ Affairs will drive the plan from the heart of government, working to help veterans on jobs, housing and health, through better data and a more joined up approach.”
Today we launched the Government's veterans action plan, following a consultation on the Veterans Strategy which will continue to support veterans.
The Government’s action plan will include plans for a more coordinated approach to support veterans; increased awareness of existing support for veterans; and continuing to cultivate a positive perception of veterans across the UK.
Implementing the Veterans' Railcard is just the start. This Government will look after those people who selflessly put their lives on the line to ensure our safety.
Commenting, Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, said:
“Corbyn’s Pension Tax will see ten million savers facing a huge bill forcing them to delay their retirement for almost three and a half years.
“This is just one of the ways a Corbyn government would hammer hardworking people on top of his plans to hike up taxes by £2,400 a year, as well as the cost of his plan for unlimited immigration and the chaos of 2020 being dominated by two more referendums – one on Brexit and another on Scottish independence.
“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party can get Brexit done with a deal, get parliament working again and turbocharge our economy to unleash Britain’s potential.”