Lifting Our Sights
Armed Forces veterans will face major challenges unless action is taken now
Over the last 18 months we have been working with Forces in Mind Trust to better understand the socio-economic and social-political trends which may occur over the next decade that may impact those transitioning from the Armed Forces Community to civilian life. The report, Lifting Our Sights: Beyond 2030, is published today. The findings and recommendations will be discussed at an online launch event. Tobias Ellwood MP will be the keynote speaker.
It is clear from the research that the changing nature of conflict and dwindling support for our Armed Forces could result in significant challenges for many veterans over the coming years, unless action is taken now. Indeed the report warns that unless action is taken now by all organisations supporting the Armed Forces community, Government will fail in its ambition to make ‘the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran’. The trends most likely to affect Service leavers over the next decade include:
- As conflict becomes more technologically advanced and the UK Armed Forces shrink in size, there will be fewer physical casualties. But new forms of engagement could have unknown and lasting psychological effects.
- The role of our Armed Forces will be less visible to the public. Reduced understanding will result in dwindling support.
- If the issue of misperception is not addressed, the number of veterans in employment could fall significantly as their skills are increasingly overlooked. There is already a ‘perception gap’, with many employers failing to recognise veterans’ value to the civilian workforce.
- Charities providing support to veterans may see a continuing decline in funding. Public sector spending cuts and Covid-19 have already led to increased need and huge reductions in income.
- All this will mean greater pressure on government finances to deliver additional public sector services – at a time of rising inequality and increased competition for resources.
Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, the charity working to ensure all ex-Service personnel transition successfully into civilian life, said: “We risk losing the hard-fought gains we’ve made in the past ten years. We must take account of foreseeable changes and respond. It’s not just Government – all those who work with the Armed Forces community must adapt and act. Failure to do so would be short-sighted and, in the eyes of that Community, unforgiveable.”
The report recommends immediate action: better understanding of veterans’ skills, increased collaboration between services and greater prioritisation according to need. It calls on national and local governments, businesses, the public sector and charities to work together to ensure veterans are not left behind.