Foreword from Mark Collins
This is a historic year. It marks the first time that Poppyscotland has published a manifesto in advance of a Scottish Parliament election, and we celebrate the centenary of the Scottish Poppy Appeal. It is also ten years since the Armed Forces Covenant was introduced.
The Armed Forces Covenant is based on the following two principles:
- Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services
- Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most such as the injured and the bereaved.
Over the past ten years, Poppyscotland has welcomed the opportunity to work with governments and parties of all persuasions to help turn these commitments into practical measures that improve the lives of our Armed Forces community.
In preparing this document, we acknowledge the progress that has been made in supporting the Armed Forces community in Scotland, but from our experience of working with and on behalf of our Armed Forces community, we also know that there is still more to do.
This manifesto sets out six recommendations that we believe should be priorities for the next Scottish Government to improve the lives of our Armed Forces community. It has been informed by evidence, experience and developed in consultation with some of the beneficiaries we support. Our manifesto outlines the needs of serving personnel, veterans, and their families and offers a blueprint for how the Scottish Government can better support them through life.
It all starts with positive health and wellbeing, as well as feeling secure in a place that our Armed Forces community can call home. Once these basics are in place, they can start to think about developing their skills and finding employment to facilitate their ongoing positive contribution to society. The social security system must also be easily accessible for members of our Armed Forces community who require it. We hope that our recommendations will be considered and taken forward by the next Scottish Government.
We also look forward to working in partnership with members elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2021 to improve the lives of our Armed Forces community in Scotland. It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that the unique contribution of the whole Armed Forces community is given the recognition it requires and that we stand behind them, always.
Interim Chief Executive