This briefing paper details the support available to armed forces veterans in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has estimated there are 2.0 million UK armed forces veterans residing in Great Britain in 2022. This number is predicted to fall to 1.6 million by 2028. Although the overall number of veterans is expected to decrease, the percentage of veterans who are of working-age is projected to increase from 37% in 2016 to 44% by 2028.
The publication of the Armed Forces Covenant articulated the principles of no disadvantage and special consideration; that no current or former member of the armed forces, or their families, should be at a disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services, and special consideration is appropriate in some cases, particularly for those who have been injured or bereaved. These core principles were enshrined in law in the Armed Forces Act 2011. The Armed Forces Act 2021 introduced a new requirement for some public bodies, including the NHS and local authorities, to pay due regard to the principles of the Covenant when carrying out specific public functions in the areas of housing, healthcare and education. Annual reports of Covenant discuss progress made on commitments and pledges made towards current and former service personnel and their families.
UK Parliament, 2022. Support for UK Veterans.