Scottish Government Urged To Increase Support For Veterans As Lockdown Eases

Scotland's Veterans Commissioner Colonel Charlie Wallace told Forces News: “We must not forget our veterans."

The Scottish government has been urged to remember the needs of former Armed Forces personnel as the country begins to lift more coronavirus restrictions.

Scotland's Veterans Commissioner has said there is an increased risk of unemployment, financial inequality and mental health issues among the veteran community unless they receive the required support during the COVID-19 recovery.

In an interim report, Colonel (Ret'd) Charlie Wallace said a greater focus was needed on delivering mental health help and services to ex-service personnel.

He has also called on more support to be made available to veterans so they can find work and give incentives to employers to recruit early service leavers.

“It’s making sure that they’re not forgotten, especially now with our focus of attention on those in the health care service who’ve done such an incredible job in making sure that we’re protected and looked after,” he told Forces News.

"They [veterans] are a really important, integral part of our community and they sometimes will need some support as well.”

Ex-Armed Forces personnel make up around 5% of Scotland's population.

Colonel Wallace added the responsibility to offer support to veterans is balanced between the UK and Scottish governments.

Scotland's Veterans Minister warns veterans face uncertain future following coronavirus pandemic
Colonel Wallace has called on more support to be made available to veterans.

Colonel Wallace also acknowledged the UK Government's plan for businesses to receive a tax break when employing military veterans.

He said he will “look to see that the Scottish government will do something similar".

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, Scotland's Veterans Minister outlined plans to improve support for ex-service personnel, with employment, education and health identified as key areas of attention.

Graeme Dey MSP told Forces News the needs and interests of veterans have become "embedded in the mainstream work of the government".