UKIP’s defence spokesman, Mike Hookem, used his party conference speech in Doncaster today to announce a completely new range of policies aimed at helping armed forces veterans. The new policies include:
UKIP will create a dedicated Veterans Department within the ministry of defence based on the US Veterans department model. This new agency would provide a “one stop shop” which will bring together all veterans services to ensure service personnel get the after service care they deserve.
UKIP will guarantee a job in the police force, prison service or border force, to those who have served for a minimum of twelve years. This will ensure we look after our servicemen, secure our borders, get more police on the streets and have safer prisons.
UKIP will change the points system for social housing to give priority to ex service men and women and those returning from active service.
UKIP will introduce a Veterans Service Card that will guarantee fast track access to NHS mental health care. UKIP do not underestimate the damage that PTSD has on service men and women and their families and we are determined to stop this travesty, especially considering that mental health issues can surface many years after the event.
UKIP guarantee that all the entitlements outlined above will be extended to servicemen from overseas. UKIP is committed to putting in place legislation that will give equal rights and benefits for all armed forces personnel, no matter of their ethnic origin.
UKIP will demand that all veterans of all services are issued with a newly instituted National Defence Medal to recognise each individual’s contribution to the overall defence effort. This medal will be awarded irrespective of rank and length of service. The armed forces operate as a team and every aspect of that team deserves to be recognised.
“As a veteran myself, I am very proud to announce UKIP’s new approach to veterans affairs, as politicians in this country have ignored the military covenant for far too long. As a nation, we have a duty to help veterans readjust to civilian life, to find a job and get on the housing ladder, as well as providing any healthcare required as soon as possible. This is especially important when you think that many members of todays armed force have served multiple tours of combat duty over the last 14 years and may need a great deal of extra help and support.”
“UKIP’s intention to create a Veterans Affairs department within the MoD will totally change the current sporadic approach to veterans services by providing a ‘one stop shop’ for veterans returning to civilian life and for those who need that little extra help in their post service life. At the same time, our guaranteed career path for veterans with more than 12 years service will allow armed forces personnel to plan for a long term career in the public sector, as well as making sure we have the right calibre of person filling important roles within those sectors. With regard to housing and heath care, it seems only right to me to make sure that troops returning to civilian life go to the front of the queue, especially considering what they have risked in defence of our nation.”