On Sunday we commemorated Remembrance Sunday and on Monday Armistice Day. This is something that as a nation we’ve been doing well for decades, coming together in recognising and reflecting on the sacrifice of the fallen. Until the last decade or so, our country had been a bit slower in giving our Veterans the recognition and status they deserve.
This has rightly improved with Veterans being given greater consideration at all levels of government. Both West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council proudly signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, which is the nation’s commitment to those who serve or who have served.
The government has established the Office for Veterans' Affairs, which has been set up to ensure that government delivers on its promises to provide the lifelong support that our ex-service personnel deserve. They have also launched the first UK-wide veterans’ strategy, which outlines a new vision and a set of principles to support those who have served our country. The strategy focuses on areas such as community and relationships; employment and skills; health and well-being; finance, debt and housing, as well as contact with the law.
Building on this, I am very pleased to see that the next Conservative Government plans to cut rail travel costs for up to 700,000 former servicemen and women by introducing a new Veterans' Rail Card. Under the plan, eligibility for the existing Forces Railcard for serving personnel that has a one-third reduction for most tickets, will be extended to everyone who has been members of the military.
The scheme is expected to benefit up to 700,000 people because around 1.6 million of the UK’s 2.3 million veterans already qualify for a senior or disabled person's card. Therefore, this will benefit all the remaining former service personnel who do not benefit from the other existing schemes and would also include spouses and dependent children travelling with veterans.
It’s great that Crawley’s veterans will benefit, whether through reduced travel to work costs or by being less expensive to visit friends and other Veterans, many of whom will be living some distance away.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
13th November 2019