Monday, 15 November 2010
Military Covenant - Tories break it already
The Tories campaigned during the last election on how they were going to mend the Military Covenant. Britain has a 'duty of care' to its armed forces. This began as an unspoken pact between society and the military, possibly originating as far back as Henry VIII's reign. The pact was formally codified as a 'covenant' in 2000 (by the Labour Government). It is not a law but is reinforced by custom and convention.
The Tories accused the Labour Government of breaking the Covenant and told everyone how they were going to mend it - so what have they done!
Well they have not done much but they have told us what they are going to do - cut pensions to War Widows and injured soldiers - George Osborne the Tory Chancellor has announced the proposed changes, it has even caused the Head of the Armed Forces to say that 'War widows and injured soldiers must be protected against the "worst excesses" of the coalition's cuts to pensions'
I was fortunate to serve alongside and get to know two brave young soldiers who lost their lives in Sangin, Afghanistan in 2009 both were married and joined the tour late as they stayed behind in the UK for a few weeks as their young wives were both pregnant. A week after their babies were born they flew out to join us. This Tory Government is now saying if those young widows remarry, they will lose their War Widow pension. If that is not breaking the Military Covenant, I don't know what is: The Covenant states: " British soldiers must always be able to expect fair treatment, to be valued and respected as individuals, and that they (and their families) will be sustained and rewarded by commensurate terms and conditions of service."
I was also fortunate to work alongside Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, who lost his life on bomb disposal duty, his wife Christina spoke eloquently after his death, and captured the feeling of many families who have lost loved ones. Now Osborne and the Tories want to cut her pension.
It is nothing more than a disgrace!