BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

Is the government breaking covenant with military?

11:35 UK time, Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Royal British Legion has accused the prime minister of breaking his promise to set in law a military covenant between the nation and its troops. Is support being "watered down"?

Last June, David Cameron indicated the covenant - a promise of a duty of care in return for sacrifices made - would be set out in legislation.

However, the charity's head Chris Simpkins claims the new Armed Forces Bill does not fulfil that promise and only requires the Ministry of Defence to publish an annual report on the covenant. It has also issued warnings of what it calls a tidal wave of low morale in the military.

Is the government doing enough to maintain the covenant with the military? What action should be taken to improve morale? Are you or a member of your family connected with the armed forces?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    I served for 28 years (retiring 4 years ago) and I cannot remember a time when any Government gave a toss about the military. Fortunately, most military personnel know and accept that and just get on with the job in hand.
    I don't recall a time when morale was very low, but when you look at the way successive Governments have washed their hands of addressing welfare issue facing the military (poor equipment, single accommodation worse than Prison inmates, decrepit married quarters, poor operational allowances in comparison to other nations etc etc etc), then it really should have been!!
    You won't see many military (or ex-military) men and women whingeing. That is left to others.

  • Comment number 2.

    What's that? A politician breaking a promise? No way!

  • Comment number 3.

    If what the RBL are saying is right and this government are watereing down support for the covenant then it has to be one of the most despicable acts from this government so far. Our military are very proud and will complain as a very last resort. All they want is decent treatment and for this they will place their lives on the line and very often lose them. This loyalty to their country is unquestionable and unwavering. It`s a shame our politicians don`t show that same loyalty.

  • Comment number 4.

    Having done 37 years in the military I can guarantee that today there will be a lot of people on this subject who will moan about service men signing up knowing what their life will be like, - wrong!
    You join the military believing the PR and soon realise that things are not quite as rosy as you were led to believe. That being said, you do learn a variety of skills; have adventures; and become wordly aware. It is a good life.
    However, you do need support from your own nationals and, just as important, your own government. At present those in government who understand the military way of life are few and far between, hence the debacle with equipment.
    There are many things that are wrong with the present day military but David Camerons promise, and I repeat promise, for a covenent would go a long way to rectify some of those.

  • Comment number 5.

    Soldiers whose family support is being cut - we're all in this together.
    Deprived families in Manchester losing their access to swimming pools - we're all in this together.
    Public sector workers losing our jobs - we're all in this together.
    Bankers wanting bonuses again after only two years of saying sorry - Oh, um, er ...

  • Comment number 6.

    I served in the RAF in the 70s. I considered it an honour that I may have had to put my life on the line to protect my country. The actions of all the mealy mouthed, lying, thieveing politicians over the last 15 years means I wouldn't care a hoot if this country was utterly destroyed. Our present military would probably be backed by all the populace, with the exception of a few bankers, if they turned their weapons on Downing Street and the rest of Whitehall.

  • Comment number 7.

    Does anyone believe what any government promises?

  • Comment number 8.

    # 1 Chris

    That may be true - but this apology of a Government gave their word - and haven't kept it - just as they haven't kept their word about anything else - except tread on the poor.

  • Comment number 9.

    Enough individuals on HYS complain about 'entitlement culture' why should the military be treated any differently? By all means offer service men and women the best careers services and healthcare possible. BUT why should military personnel be treated any differently, when one takes into account that Britain does not operate a system of conscription and all wars are inherently political in their motives.

    Therefore, taking into account that individuals have the choice whether or not they wish to enter the forces or not and know that any conflict they will have to enter will be a consequence of politicians and politicking, why should these people be treated any differently?

  • Comment number 10.

    Did you ask this when Labour broke the military covenant?

    No?

    Wonder why...

  • Comment number 11.

    Oh hell yes and will continue to do so until such time as any MP running the dept of defense has actually served within the armed forces.
    How many MPs children are serving? how many from the front benches are serving? I don't know the answer but i am going to hazard a guess NONE.
    Politicians who take this country to war should be made to do the fighting and dying alongside our brave troops.

  • Comment number 12.

    Chris in point 1 sums it up!

    Whats disconcerting is how some of the people who protect our freedom are treat worse than some of those who come to our country fleeing persecution. I don't begrudge people receiving help but is it unreasonable to expect a decent standard of living for those who pay the ultimate price to allow us to enjoy our version of freedom?

    I had to laugh when some minister justified that we had to make savings even in the military because of the financial crisis.

    If we're at war, and I believe that we are currently at war (although some pedant will suggest its not war but a conflict or some other obtuse description to describe our troops continued presence in Afghanistan), how can you afford to do that?

    Joined up thinking and common sense is clearly missing from those who are meant to be running the country.

    I'm no communist but if this kind of nonsense continues I predict a revolution with 10 yrs...

    Well one day all of this will bite the Government in the backside. Look at how the military are standing to one side in Egypt.

    Watch out Parliament, one day this will happen with you!

  • Comment number 13.

    Ex-Army.

    We are all but numbers to our Government, National Insurance or Regimental each and every number can be replaced, Governments work on facts and figures they don’t care about human life or assisting those that have given some over the years all they care about is the cost financially.

    Until the Prime Ministers children are facing the bullets in Afghanistan our Government will never provide the best of the best to our Armed Forces, it’s not their children’s lives that are at stake it’s ours, the equipment they supply is ADAQUATE and that’s about it.

    Let's face on BIG issue here? Our Country’s security is in the hands of our military; David Cameron is powerless as a world leader without them a FACT he should remember for the rest of his life.

    Our fighters deserve the very best of the best equipment, we know now that our Government is prepared to let them die just to save a few quid for the The Chancellor of the Exchequer, I wonder what he’s going to do should our boys ever down tools due to inadequate equipment and the growing loss of life count?

    Take away the Governments cars and computer systems then lets see how well they can do their jobs without the proper equipment?

  • Comment number 14.

    Several years ago whilst traveling across USA, I met an ex us marines begging at side of road, once he noticed I was a brit, he remarked, I served along side of many of your troops, and how lucky they are having a monarchy to protect them.

    If we ask ourelves can we do more, well yes, but not surprising,
    our political system has also let many other services
    down. I have two brothers in the forces, and yes they have had a
    hard time last few years, but they also remembered, they volunteered to serve abroad, due to it having a financial incentive. Last few years one in the RAF has been paid to play golf, along with taking other work training, ready for civilan life.

    I on the other hand retired rrom psychie nursing, and yes like many of my colleagues have suffered health issues, due to toxicity of the job.
    I am left with my pension I paid in for, but cannot see I got any other benfits, yet my work also placed my life at risk on several occassions, even witnessing several of my colleagues being killed in their role as a psychie nurse.

    I would suggest there is little difference between services, some had a better working condition than others, I like my brothers volunteerd, and as such was aware of the risks asociated with the territory of job and what it included.

  • Comment number 15.

    This government don't care about ordinary hardworking folk - be it our brave military, or the rest of the population.

    They only care about bankers.

  • Comment number 16.

    Words are cheap, indeed when from a politician's mouth its gratis! Even if you can pick the day, time & year a promise was given these captains of politics will spin their collective way out with further gratis words! Just how reliant are injured ex-service men & women on tokenist hand-outs and hard pressed charities?

  • Comment number 17.

    Great Britain no longer exists as a entity it is one of twenty-seven EU member states, our military policy will be dictated by Europe and its first job will be to cut our military might down to a size they can oppose should the people rebel and demand to leave.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well many old soldiers voted for Cameron. Remember. Any money spent on retired, or injured or families of those sadly killed in action, military people is less to hand out in tax cuts. How many disabled soldiers, injured in Afghanistan or Iraq have lost their benefit under the Department of Work and Pensions rules? How many widows have lost benefits due to compensation for the loss of a husband in action is counted as savings? This is the Tory party we are talking about. They do not and never have cared for anyone but their rich friends. Its what the party was set up to do. A banker is getting millions in bonus. An injured soldier, peanuts. When will some ever learn? Cameron is an ex PR man. He can talk the talk. But his nose is like Geppetto's son. Grows longer every time he says he is on the side of ordinary people. You have four more years of this. Will there be anything less dropped from the table for us ordinary people to take as scraps? If a soldier was a banker, he would gain more favour with the Tory party and be better looked after.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    This government would replace all our armed forces with mercenaries hired from whichever multinational spiv corporation made the right noises about markets if it could. The obsessions and delusions our leaders seem to have concerning the abolition of state and public services verges on certifiable insanity.

  • Comment number 21.

    "10. At 12:15pm on 09 Feb 2011, oglidewell wrote:
    Did you ask this when Labour broke the military covenant?

    No?

    Wonder why..."

    Seems to be a recurring theme.....New Labour or rather Blair never mentioned

    Why no debate on the Lockerbie Bombers release and the last government's attitude toward it? Or update on the Iraq inquiry when top civil nservants questiom and disagree with Blair's version of events?



  • Comment number 22.

    you can die for this country get seriously injured and this and previous governments only try to stop you get you and your family from getting the help and compensation you deserve when we see one of camerons/blairs or browms set off to fight this may change THEY CARE MORE FOR THEIR rich friends than anyone.

  • Comment number 23.

    It's high time the military fought back against dictatorial governments who claim power on the back of minority votes.

    Time to march on Parliament?

  • Comment number 24.

    Who else hase this government gone back on their promises, what a shame, after retiring from the nhs, I also served and did my duty for society, on the other hand unlike my brothers who often were paid to travel aboroad, play golf, or even volunteered to serve aboroad, as it gave a financial incentive. Last few years being paid to retrain ready for civilian life. we in the nhs, had to make cuts, go out of our way to supposedly offer the servicemen a better standard of care to civilians.

    I like my brothers all volunteered, knwowing of the risks, I retired due to ill health, and on a my pension, which I paid in for, also witnessed several of my colleagues being killed doing there duty as a psychie nurse, and has a judged remarked a risk of the job!

    If I am to be honest, we probably need to focus upon our next generation, and not the has beens.

  • Comment number 25.

    Labour failed the military quite openly during a hot war situation in Iraq because it bowed to voters whining ill-informed nonsense about ‘illegal wars’, can one blame Cameron for falling into the same trap?

    There are very few votes in supporting the military after decades of drip drip drip ‘political correctness’ against anything military the younger generation now believe that violent defence planning is not required and that overseas force projection is morally wrong. Our nascent enemies of course do all they can to foster those delusions.

    Running down defence short sighted as the world gets more dangerous daily due to economic failures, population growth stretching resources and looney religious types gaining WMDs.

    Britain needs to pay far more attention to basic defence and pre-emptive overseas force projection than at any time since WW2 in my opinion and Cameron should support that.

  • Comment number 26.

    No.5 Political Mum - you're right. We are all in it together until the crunch really comes, then the majority of us are left high and dry by unreliable, treacherous people mouthing "democratic" platitudes.

    If we want tyranny, let's at least have a professional, organised tyranny - bring on the Army! Seize Parliament, put the Bankers in their places and throw Blair & Brown in jail for wrecking the economy.

  • Comment number 27.

    "backtracking on a promise to set in law a military covenant."
    Cameron has back tracked on everything he said before the General election
    not the sort of guy to trust one bit.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    leng wrote:

    "Several years ago whilst traveling across USA, I met an ex us marines begging at side of road, once he noticed I was a brit, he remarked, I served along side of many of your troops, and how lucky they are having a monarchy to protect them."

    Sorry, but in my opinion, as an American, I would say you made that up. Such an odd comment doesn't even make sense coming from a Brit and you expect it to be believable that it came from an American?

    Besides, the topic at hand has to do with your country, not America. America values it troops like very few nations in the world despite what you might think.

  • Comment number 30.

    This government has broken every promise it made with the rest of us so what is so different about covenants with the armed forces- problem is when these clowns are defeated, we will be faced with another long spell of labour

  • Comment number 31.

    The government has breached its promises on the NHS, Sure Start,EMA,University fees to name but a few so why should it not breach it's covenant with the armed services?

    Such dissembling is in the nature of this disgrace of an unelected administration.

  • Comment number 32.

    9. At 12:15pm on 09 Feb 2011, matt wrote:
    BUT why should military personnel be treated any differently

    I will tell you why.

    Because they are prepared to die for the likes of you.

    Does that answer your question?

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    Any 'covenant' with the millitary was broken when we sent these brave men and women to be killed and horribly maimed on foreign battlefields thousands of miles from home on the basis of lies.

  • Comment number 35.

    Typical government of all colours. Start a war or two then take fright at the billion of total cost incurred so start trying to prosecute it while cutting corners.
    Have you seen the tons of quality forces surplus stuff for sale on the High St at a fraction of what it must have cost to produce. Nirod aircraft 4 billion pounds never flew and scrapped.
    MOD own half the country They must have billions upon billions ofpounds worth of land and building from years back and the government, they sell a few forests worth diddly.
    Don't look for any sense in it. (or my comment)

  • Comment number 36.

    We need a referendum before committing any troops to an overseas conflict. This will ensure high public support and stop politicians pulling a Tony and GeorgeW trick again.

    Terms and conditions for the military should ensure good pay and conditions, health and family support in the case of injury or death. These should be contracturally binding.

    If you leave the military then you on your own - the same as any public servant, policeman, doctor, nurse etc.

  • Comment number 37.

    At 12:31pm on 09 Feb 2011, martin3647 wrote:
    "10. At 12:15pm on 09 Feb 2011, oglidewell wrote:
    Did you ask this when Labour broke the military covenant?

    No?

    Wonder why..."

    Seems to be a recurring theme.....New Labour or rather Blair never mentioned

    Why no debate on the Lockerbie Bombers release and the last government's attitude toward it? Or update on the Iraq inquiry when top civil nservants questiom and disagree with Blair's version of events?

    -------------
    Actually I am 99.9% sure that this was indeed a subject of at least one HYS debate prior to May 2010 (Perhaps the moderators can help out on this).

    In any case you reflect the main problem with this government that it still feels it is in opposition and wishes to pass all blame to others, while selectively changing its version of its own stated positions in opposition..

    We had the ludicrous situation at PMQ's today where the PM blamed libraries for closing themselves!

    It is about time nearly a Year after the election that the Government started taking responsibility for it's own actions

  • Comment number 38.

    If our MPs felt any duty of care towards our troops they'd have put some thought into Blair's case for invading Iraq (instead of voting for it blindly) and realised it was riddled with holes. They might also have made some effort to ensure there was an adequate post-invasion plan and that the troops are adequately equipped. Frankly, were Blair's cabinet a private business they'd be in line for a corporate manslaughter charge.

  • Comment number 39.

    And as normal Westminster although having millions of deaths laid at their door of young women and men over the past 100years, believe that we 'The Tax Payer' are just cannon fodder.
    Does this not prove it?
    If we were not regarded as that, he would be putting in all kinds of legislation to help the wounded and their families.
    Instead he backs off....ask yourself why.

    I pose the question 'Who is the enemy of the British people?' Its not the people themselves, its the long term of succession of bent and crooked governments that caused wars. That makes it THIER problem NOT ours as they demand our boys and girls fight their arguments.
    They are nothing short of cronically disgusting.







  • Comment number 40.

    A typical biased left wing BBC question.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    I don't know about the military covenant but what I do know is that our armed forces have been on active deployment now for over 10 years and this is far too long for armed forces these size of ours. The strain on infantry battalions is constant and this cannot be right for such a long period of time.

  • Comment number 43.

    Maybe.

  • Comment number 44.

    Could the BBC publish a list of the earnings for all of the executives of all of the UK charities.
    It's amazing who shouts the loudest when cuts are made, yes those at the top!

  • Comment number 45.

    Comment 31 (12:47pm) Looks like the Freedom of speech act is yet again facing a bashing, is the BBC independent or Government Controlled, if it’s the latter then under the (Freedom Of Information Act) I would like to know why my one line factual comment with no bad language or racial content was withheld please.

  • Comment number 46.

    Cancel my last xx

  • Comment number 47.

    This government are as spineless as the last. They expect our Armed Forces to go off & fight the politicians ideological wars without the correct equipment & support back home. The only saving grace for service personel (serving & retired) has been the Royal British Legion who don't need laws to know what must be done. The government have been breaking their covenant for years & have left charitable organisations to clear up after them. In the article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12399345 I notice the Royal British Legion have asked for the names of all personel leaving the forces to ensure adequate resettlement packages for them, that is the least that can be done for them.

    When my partner was medically discharged from the Army 8 years ago he was forced to live for 6 months in a homeless hostel surrounded by drug addicts & alcoholics. It was only by chance that a member of staff at the hostel suggested that he contact the Royal British Legion that he actually got some help & support in getting back on is feet again. I can not praise the staff at The Royal British Legion highly enough for the great work they do, if it wasn't for them there would be a great many more former service personel on the streets, depressed, addicted, in prison or worse.

  • Comment number 48.

    Maybe it takes longer than 6 months too bring out a comprehensive military covenant? Its not like pay hasn't gone up, or leave is taken from arriving in the UK. But the beeb needs some OUTRAGE, i hope its happy with this faux story.

  • Comment number 49.

    What exactly is this "covenant" with the military? Why should one area of the public sector be gifted such special treatment at the expense of hospitals, libraries, care for the elderly, youth clubs, school crossing patrols, the voluntary sector, and other services that actually make life a little more bearable for so many people yet are seeing spending cuts of up to 40%?

    What does it say about the attitude of the British that we are prepared to forgo such deprivation at home for the privilege of allowing a few soldiers to play war games in somebody else's country? "It's the defence of our country and our way of life", you say? Well, there soon won't be anything left defending once this shameful bunch of free-market small-state millionaires have finished with it.

  • Comment number 50.

    10. At 12:15pm on 09 Feb 2011, oglidewell wrote:
    Did you ask this when Labour broke the military covenant?

    No?

    Wonder why...


    Sooooooooo true.

    And in case the answer isn't utterly obvious to anyone with a functioning brain, the reason is that the BBC has been extensively reporting it today, whereas it was not considered newsworthy enough when Labour where in power.

    The common denominator is that the BBC do not report negatively on Labour. Never have, never will, because their ethos is, by nature, socialist.

    With regard to the issue, I think that this coalition government, like every single other government in British history sees the military as an expensive cash cow that can be continually bled. Every so often, they are forced to slap a field dressing on the wounded cow because they need the military.

    We know that the Coalition has no money because of Labour.
    We know that "everyone has to take their share of the burden" unless you can afford a decent tax avoiding accountant.
    We know that every government department has to take a hit.

    But what REALLY incenses me is that at the MOD, the people making the decisions on what to cut, will NEVER cut themselves. If we made more MOD civil servants redundent, we could pay our service men and women what they deserve.

    Same with the Police and Home Office.

    Our soldiers, aircrew and sailers are our rock and as a country, we need to take a leaf out of the Yanks book and give these fantastic men and women what the government won't.

    Respect, a comensurate wage, our care and our gratitude.

  • Comment number 51.

    A previous generation of this nation's political leaders, men like Edward Heath and Denis Healey, saw active service in World War II, and possessed first-hand knowledge of what being a soldier is all about.
    The present lot's experience of life's tougher aspects probably doesn't even run to a hard game of rugby. Perhaps a vigorous five minutes in the school debating society was as rough as things got.
    The image of David Cameron and Ed Miliband, visiting our troops in Afghanistan, is as incongruous as Lionel Blair propping for the All Blacks.

  • Comment number 52.

    When I was in the Forces we felt we were serving the Nation and the Sovereign. The United Kingdom is so changed that I am not sure where the armed forces direct their loyalty today. Certainly not to Here today, Gone tomorrow, Politicians. I am sure they are loyal to their colleagues, as we were, but I do wonder where the loyalty of the armed forces and indeed the citizens of the UK is directed to day, perhaps to the Sovereign because who would die for the EU. I am surprised that there is still a voluntary armed force at all because they must wonder what they are fighting for. If it is for the Nation then the Nation owes a massive debt to those who are wounded,mentally and physically and if that covenant is broken then no one will want to fight and we will have to reintroduce conscription.

  • Comment number 53.

    Conscription ceased in Uk in 1960, so you do not have to be in the forces if you do not want to be!
    K4290894 RAF, long ago!

  • Comment number 54.

    Wrong question. Should be Why is the government breaking Covenant with the Military? we all know the answer. We can't afford it! Absolute rubbish if we can afford to pay bankers bonuses and do little to recover the funding which they continue to enjoy and missuse then we need to get our priorities right and stop ducking the issue. This government sees fit to allow their city friends to enrich themselves at the expense of every decent person it te country/ When this country goes to war we have arme forces who do not question, but give up their lives for the defence/interests of this nation including the bankers and the politicians who seem to conspire together to engage in conflicts world wide. I have friends in the US who are now startin g to question how the US economy is run, many of their friends have come to the conclusion (which history tends to prove) that the US economy is based on the massive US arms industry which requires regular conflicts so that they can sell arms to dubious dictatorships supported by the US government. We seem to have got locked into this idea probably because our arms manufacturers/dealers could see a fast profit selling weapons of destruction to foreign governments. The downside of course is we have to follow the US line which is you are either for us or against us. Successive UK governments have trotted out the "special relationship twaddle" which on closer examination actually means you do what we tell you do, with the proviso anythin we the US do is for the benefit of the US only. The only difference between the UK government and the US in relationship to their armed forces is that the US tend in the main to look after their military where as in the UK we penny pinch, short change and ill equip are soldiers, sailors and airman. Its about time for a change.

  • Comment number 55.

    With news breaking that over 50% of Tory donations came from the City, its clear that the Leading party of the Government was backed by those responsible for our economic problems. They, and Rupert Murdock's media empire are the only people the Tories want to keep happy, not the citizens of this country or the military.

  • Comment number 56.

    All politicians are at the end of the day, a bunch of lying, self-serving crooks - if a politician breathes, they lying! It's their nature! It matters not one hoot what colour rosette is pinned to their lapel. Though it has to be said that NewLieMore took the art to new depths! A party that is prepared to falsify a dossier in order to take the nation into an illegal war is NEVER to be trusted again!

  • Comment number 57.

    It seems hard working decent people (includes soldiers) are still seen as mugs by government, meanwhile the greedy prosper.

    Is this really what we want?

  • Comment number 58.

    40. At 12:57pm on 09 Feb 2011, Lynn from Sussex wrote:
    "A typical biased left wing BBC question."
    ----------
    Really? I know Conservatives who can spot the difference between a promise kept and a promise not kept, and they do seem able to spot more than one of these.

    I would not say these Conservatives are "typical biased left wing" people. Nor would they.

    Would YOU, Lynn?

  • Comment number 59.

    a number of points here - firstly this government have collectively broke a number of promises since coming into power - tuition fees as a caseinpoint. they will continue to do so until we all do something about it. secondly, several of my friends have recently been laid off by their employers (a council and a university) because of spending cuts. while i am supportive of our armed forces, i dont think they can or should be immune to the pain we are all suffering

  • Comment number 60.

    40. At 12:57pm on 09 Feb 2011, Lynn from Sussex wrote:
    A typical biased left wing BBC question.


    ==============================
    Are you saying the Royal British Legion has a left wing bias?

    They are the ones raising the issue.

    When are you people going to start taking some responsibility?

  • Comment number 61.

    37. At 12:52pm on 09 Feb 2011, steve wrote:

    ...

    We had the ludicrous situation at PMQ's today where the PM blamed libraries for closing themselves!


    Not quite, that comment was made by Ed Miliband and it was his interpretation of what the PM said.

  • Comment number 62.

    The Royal British Legion is 110% correct but they have been very diplomatic in their use of language. LIAR is the term I would use

  • Comment number 63.

    Public respect for soldiers = 100%
    Public respect for politicians = 0%

  • Comment number 64.

    Just remember the tirades of Tony and the support he has provoked.
    The UK could have only one voice and one face than.
    Has anything changed since that?
    No maniacs, manipulations, tricks any more?

  • Comment number 65.

    Why do soldiers and military perosnel think they are so special? Nobody forces tem to join the armed forces - there is no conscription they volunteer.They know what they are opting for when they join and they are well paid for doing it. No other branch of public service is just given houses and benefits and then expects to be looked after when they stop doing the job. If they don't like the terms and conditions, don't take the job. They are in no way "special", they are just people who have chosen one career path as opposed to another and its down to their choice not our responsibility to treat them as some kind of special case.

  • Comment number 66.

    I think the military are just joining the Club of those who've had their pensions and understandings etc stripped away by recent Governements....

    ie all of the rest of us.

    Neither Labour nor Conservatives are any different on this. But we all note that they don't make a few of themselves redundant, pay themselves any less, or water down their service agreements....

  • Comment number 67.

    One Government after another have paid lip service to 'caring' about UK Forces.
    They need - the numbers to do the job, the equipment to do the job, the reasons for doing the job etc.

    However - applying to do the job is from choice. Forces personnel need to understand that they made their choice of career, just like the rest of us. They needed to think of an exit plan for themselves - at whatever point in their lives they need one - just like we all should do.



  • Comment number 68.

    The results of the 2009 Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS) can be found here:

    http://www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/index.php?page=48&thiscontent=710&pubType=0&date=2010-03-16&PublishTime=09:30:00

    The results of the AFCAS 2010 survey has not yet been published so it's difficult to tell whether armed forces morale has got worse, improved or stayed the same since the coalition government came to power.

  • Comment number 69.

    Above and beyond everything else our military personnel should come first.I served for 14 years and to be honest no one ever gave a toss about our welfare outside our actual regiment and our equipment was always garbage and in short supply.Mind you atleast Maggie always made sure "HER BOYS"got a good pay increase every year without fail which in someway compensated for all the many shortcomings.

  • Comment number 70.

    50. At 1:17pm on 09 Feb 2011, David Horton wrote:
    10. At 12:15pm on 09 Feb 2011, oglidewell wrote:
    Did you ask this when Labour broke the military covenant?

    No?

    Wonder why...

    Sooooooooo true.

    And in case the answer isn't utterly obvious to anyone with a functioning brain, the reason is that the BBC has been extensively reporting it today, whereas it was not considered newsworthy enough when Labour where in power.

    The common denominator is that the BBC do not report negatively on Labour. Never have, never will, because their ethos is, by nature, socialist.

    With regard to the issue, I think that this coalition government, like every single other government in British history sees the military as an expensive cash cow that can be continually bled. Every so often, they are forced to slap a field dressing on the wounded cow because they need the military.

    We know that the Coalition has no money because of Labour.
    We know that "everyone has to take their share of the burden" unless you can afford a decent tax avoiding accountant.
    We know that every government department has to take a hit.

    But what REALLY incenses me is that at the MOD, the people making the decisions on what to cut, will NEVER cut themselves. If we made more MOD civil servants redundent, we could pay our service men and women what they deserve.

    Same with the Police and Home Office.

    Our soldiers, aircrew and sailers are our rock and as a country, we need to take a leaf out of the Yanks book and give these fantastic men and women what the government won't.

    Respect, a comensurate wage, our care and our gratitude.
    ==========================
    Regarding the BBC - I simply say Craig Oliver.

    I agree we should looking at the pay and roles of top civil servants at the MOD/Home Office etc. It is within the power of government to do this. They are chosing not to do so and leaving it to Managers to cut - why?

    Also, the rock of our country are the police, carers and font line public service workers (including volunteers) who are been targetted by indescriminate, mindless, slash-and-burn policies.


  • Comment number 71.

    I have not read the report, so I have not compared it to the government's prior commitment, and on that basis I am assuming the claims made are correct.

    Whilst some people trying to manage on JSA, ESA, DLA have to scrimp and scrape others seem to manage splendidly on far more money than many in the banking sector take home. (The average person in a bank often doesn't earn that much on the basis that their mortgage terms may be favourable - well, everyone's mortgage terms are favourable at the moment.) Once again those who really deserve some assistance, such as ex-servicemen and women are not receiving it, but someone who decides they want rent paid on a property in a high rent area, and everyone should support their large number of children, well, they're ok, aren't they? Short-fall down to previous spendthrift nanny governments.

  • Comment number 72.

    55. At 1:30pm on 09 Feb 2011, Andy wrote:
    With news breaking that over 50% of Tory donations came from the City, its clear that the Leading party of the Government was backed by those responsible for our economic problems. They, and Rupert Murdock's media empire are the only people the Tories want to keep happy, not the citizens of this country or the military.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well said! And it becomes ever clearer why those of us who never caused the mess are being made to pay for it, while those who did are being handled with cashmere gloves..

  • Comment number 73.

    255 British servicemen lost their lives in the Falklands War, since that war ended 264 Falkland Veterans have taken their own lives and many more have had their lives destroyed, families broken up and have ended up in prison or living rough on the streets due to the mental and physical injuries they sustained during their service.

    This should tell you all you need to know about the way the UK government treats members of the Armed Forces.

  • Comment number 74.

    In the Chilcott enquiry Jack Straw said ministers would have had to be "deaf, dumb and blind" not to realise by the autumn of 2002 that military action and planning was under way.
    Yet, during the first stages of the war our soldiers were dying because they didn't even have flak jackets. The excuse for the lack of equipment? that they didn't know they were going to go to war until the last minute and therefore couldn't order any.
    This excuse by Mr Hoon has now been blown out of the water after Mr Straw's comments. Regardless of that though, surely, whether you are about to go to war or not, you should be providing your staff with the proper 'PPE' regardless?
    The fact is, if this had been a private company and it had failed to provide for it's employees, it would have been done for corporate manslaughter. How the heck has Mr Hoon and the gov't got away with it?

    This is really just a minor point compared to the overall relationship/attitude our gov't has towards military personnel, the truth is they don't give a damn about them. The politicians come out and pay lip service, saying how proud they are of our armed forces etc, but it's just more soundbites for them on the evening news. Fact is, our politicians are scum.

  • Comment number 75.

    After reading several comments on this HYS, I'm sorry but why do so many still sign up for the army knowing that conditions/care are poor - both while serving in the army and once you come out of the army?

    If people stopped signing up then the Government would have to look at ways to entice people to join...such as decent pensions, housing allowances, aftercare etc. I can't understand why you moan and then join up. Nothing will ever change unless you force the government to change its attitude....and that doesn't just cover the army.

  • Comment number 76.

    I have grave concerns that this Government, like all its predecessors, is saying one thing about the military covenant and doing another. Throughout our history, UK governments' record in this area has fallen well short of politicians' rhetoric, so we should not be altogether surprised. Individuals, who are required by tasks given to them by Government to knowingly place themselves in harms way deserve special consideration.

  • Comment number 77.

    61. At 1:38pm on 09 Feb 2011, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    37. At 12:52pm on 09 Feb 2011, steve wrote:

    ...

    We had the ludicrous situation at PMQ's today where the PM blamed libraries for closing themselves!

    Not quite, that comment was made by Ed Miliband and it was his interpretation of what the PM said.

    ================================
    It doesnt really matter who said what. What matters is that in the 21st Century the UK government is overseeing the wholesale closure of public libraries.

  • Comment number 78.

    Well the present weasels in government have lied to everyone else so why does the military think its a special case?You cant trust Tories they never change.

  • Comment number 79.

    The Govement of the day has never looked after the men who do their dirty business for them except those men who have not come up through the ranks they are well paid but the cannon fodder is not nor are their families so at last its hitting home the Queen and some of the country is doing well out of the wars which have never stopped also wars are culling humans it keeps the population down to a level that can be managed by those who think they are born to rule. As life changes those who never get to war do not they never see or feel the rage and hate, they just get the profits and you will notice few of the riches children get war dirty why not??? The Govenment has never looked after its soldiers now no one wants the job. the country is sick of it and want no more.

  • Comment number 80.


    40. At 12:57pm on 09 Feb 2011, Lynn from Sussex wrote:
    A typical biased left wing BBC question.
    ------------
    Which is Milbank Tower speak for a question we don't want asked because we can't blame someone else for it!

    The suggestion of a breach of covenant was made by that arch supporter of the Left the Royal British Legion!

  • Comment number 81.

    There is far too much attention given to the military and far, far too little given to the civilian victims of our *warfare* and the process of finding peaceful ways of resolving our differences.

  • Comment number 82.

    Which government are we talking about? Labour's treatment of the military was dreadful, just as their policies to allow millions of new citizens into the country, but have nowhere for them to live, and not enough jobs for all. I am beginning to think that very few MPs have any common sense, and even less knowledge of what is going on around them. Not one MP that I can think of even listens to what the people want, even Cameron with his comments of Multiculturism is just hot air talk. Just ask anyone who lives in a town where they are the only person left in the street who speaks English, and can't afford to move away, though where they would go, I have no idea. Of course the military should get the support and supplies that they need, or is the death of all those young soldiers meaningless. I, and millions of others in this country are sick to death of spineless governments, I just wish we could go back 25 years and start again.

  • Comment number 83.

    The present administration is reneging on its obligations right, left and centre, no surprise that it will let the armed forces down as well.

    Those of us who offer commitment, hard work, loyalty, effort - we are the ones who lose out: the government feels safe in not fulfilling its duty and obligations to us, because we are the very sort of people who won't renege on OUR obligations even when let down by those whom we trust.

    Ex-soldier & (unemployed) teacher, struggling to get back to work despite rather than supported by the system.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    The Tories seem intent on cutting services and making life miserable for the 'ordinary people', the 'hard-working' families that politicians love to talk about, the people who should be their key voters.

    Yet the people these voters tend to dislike - the well-paid, responsibility-shy, local government officers and civil servants, the deliberately welfare-dependent, and of course, bankers, are doing fine.

    Meanwhile, the govt has protected foreign aid, whilst cutting the UKBA. You can be sure that the Tories will do nothing to cut immigration, of the race relations industry.

    So while various unpopular and expensive groups do quite nicely, the govt chooses to hammer one of the few very popular institutions in the country - the armed forces.

    I can't imagine that many committed Conservative voters are particularly happy with the government at the moment.

  • Comment number 86.

    "Is the English Westminster government breaking covenant with military"? should be the HYS question.

    Personally, I simply don't know the answer to this question and nor does any other poster on this subject on the HYS site without personal experience or loss - anywhere in Europe or the United States.

    What would be more effective questions, perhaps:

    1) What do other European Member country's provide as a covenant for their military personnel?

    2) Does the government of the United States have a covenant with their military personnel?

    Until there is full, and transparent information, from all other nations in comparison to our own - who fight together - this question simply lets down all of us - military or otherwise?

    No, I am not a pacifist and I would kill or die for my children - but what I do know is those who cause wars, or terrorism, with children of their own, rarely if ever, allow their own children, or themselves to die for the sake of their own ideology from whatever basis - political, religious, or otherwise?

    So let's be clear - universally, NO unsuppressed mother wants their child to die before her as a suicide bomber, Equally, but not least, is that all mothers suffers dreadfully - not least in war or conflict based on ideology, religion or any dogma?

    There is no excuse.

  • Comment number 87.

    handy1 wrote:
    Why do soldiers and military perosnel think they are so special? Nobody forces tem to join the armed forces - there is no conscription they volunteer.They know what they are opting for when they join and they are well paid for doing it. No other branch of public service is just given houses and benefits and then expects to be looked after when they stop doing the job. If they don't like the terms and conditions, don't take the job. They are in no way "special", they are just people who have chosen one career path as opposed to another and its down to their choice not our responsibility to treat them as some kind of special case.


    You appear to have missed the point completely.

    This is not about members of the Armed Forces asking to be treated differently or that they think they should be given any more respect than anyone else.
    It is about the covenant that exists between the military and the government that states that when the military are sent to war they are sent there with the right equipment, resources and training that they need to do the job and that when they're injured they receive the best healthcare available.

    For far too long the UK government has been expecting the military to operate with insufficient equipment, resources and training and there are far too many people leaving the armed forces with mental problems and physical injuries that are ignored by the very people who sent them to war in the first place. It is a national disgrace that many of our injured veterans are dumped in civilian hospitals and do not receive the treatment that they require and that treatment for PTSD and other mental illnesses are still badly funded leaving many of our veterans to suffer with a lifetime of mental illnesses that could and should be treated as soon as they're diagnosed.

  • Comment number 88.

    BrimfulOfAshes wrote:
    55. At 1:30pm on 09 Feb 2011, Andy wrote:
    With news breaking that over 50% of Tory donations came from the City, its clear that the Leading party of the Government was backed by those responsible for our economic problems. They, and Rupert Murdock's media empire are the only people the Tories want to keep happy, not the citizens of this country or the military.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    So what where their donations come from? 100% of the labour party funding comes from the swivel eyed marxists at the TUC. But back tot he subject, whatever the tories have not got around to with promising a covenant it pales into insignificance with the way the armed forces have always been treated by the left. Fighting in Afghanistan while the labour mayor of London entertains -in London and at taxpayers expense- a preacher calling for their deaths. Now that is what a real betrayal looks like.

    And where is that same person this week? Entertaining Sinn Fein.

  • Comment number 89.

    75. At 2:21pm on 09 Feb 2011, CladinBlack wrote:
    After reading several comments on this HYS, I'm sorry but why do so many still sign up for the army knowing that conditions/care are poor - both while serving in the army and once you come out of the army?

    If people stopped signing up then the Government would have to look at ways to entice people to join...such as decent pensions, housing allowances, aftercare etc. I can't understand why you moan and then join up. Nothing will ever change unless you force the government to change its attitude....and that doesn't just cover the army.
    ===========================
    There are so many fantastic other jobs on offer out there?

    Errr no, the unemployment rate in general is 7.9%, for under 24's its 20.3% - this is why people still join up.

  • Comment number 90.

    This Government is even worst than the last one at breaking promises. Anyone or any body who believe what a Government says must be very naive.

  • Comment number 91.

    #75 You may be right but perhaps anybody who is even thinking about joining the forces should read this link http://www.army.mod.uk/join/20217.aspx

    Thoroughly read the content of the comments on this HYS.
    Then decide who is telling the truth and who is lying through their back teeth. If you were to base your decision on the "benefits" of forces life you should not sign up.

    R8012767 ex RAF

  • Comment number 92.

    77. At 2:27pm on 09 Feb 2011, sixpackerL wrote:
    61. At 1:38pm on 09 Feb 2011, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    37. At 12:52pm on 09 Feb 2011, steve wrote:

    ...

    We had the ludicrous situation at PMQ's today where the PM blamed libraries for closing themselves!

    Not quite, that comment was made by Ed Miliband and it was his interpretation of what the PM said.

    ================================
    It doesnt really matter who said what. What matters is that in the 21st Century the UK government is overseeing the wholesale closure of public libraries.

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    The government has had to impose a 20% cut in Council subsidy because the country cannot afford it. It is up to the local Council to decide where the cut will fall, not central government. Some Councils are not closing libraries, some are, some are cutting back on things like swimming pools others are not. It is totally within the hands of the Council, not the government.

  • Comment number 93.

    77. At 2:27pm on 09 Feb 2011, sixpackerL wrote:

    61. At 1:38pm on 09 Feb 2011, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    37. At 12:52pm on 09 Feb 2011, steve wrote:

    ...

    We had the ludicrous situation at PMQ's today where the PM blamed libraries for closing themselves!

    Not quite, that comment was made by Ed Miliband and it was his interpretation of what the PM said.

    ================================
    It doesnt really matter who said what. What matters is that in the 21st Century the UK government is overseeing the wholesale closure of public libraries.


    Unfortunately who said what does matter on HYS as a lot of people tend to believe the misinformation posted on here as being factual. With regards librariies, visitor numbers have been in decline for decades so maybe it is about time that some of them did close.

  • Comment number 94.

    Firstly the government dont give a hoot about the forces, they dont pay backhanders to the tories like the city boys do.
    secondly if i were asked to do a task and felt i wasnt given the right protection then iam totally within my right to not do it, so why dont soldiers refuse to be deployed - mass strike. so they get charged or something, iam sure its better than being blown up ! i have little knowledge of this so i could be very wrong and dont want to offend any serviing/ ex military. they do a great job on our behalf for a pittance of a wage.

  • Comment number 95.

    There is not a day goes by now when there is another promise or guarantee broken lets have a list !!

    Fuel prices ( Keep quiet get more tax in )
    Tough on law and order ( Utter shambles let them all out and do not imprison anyone )
    Defence ( Rememeber dad`s army and wooden rifles )
    Vote on the EU ( Public want out but they don`t matter , that old chestnut about trade and jobs has worn very thin )
    Vote on hanging ( Not interested in what we want , go away )
    Expenses nonsense still on the go ( Poor dears cannot claim for everyting they want boo hoo )
    Banks and who cares less ( They have our money don`t pay us any interest of any note but pay themselves big bonuses ; withdraw all your money see what happens then !! )
    Interest rates for savers ( Non existent keep under the bed )


    All these things and a stack more loads of hot air and wind but nothing ever gets done to sort it out ; just forget it and it will go away attitude ( hopeless the lot of them )

    Can we have our country back please someone listen

  • Comment number 96.

    Ask ANY street Policeman how well does the Government look after ex-servicemen. Every PC knows of old soldiers who have been failed by 'the system', be they medal holders from N. Ireland who succumb to a life of ALcoholism, or amputees who have their pensions reduced at the first opportunity. It is not necessarily the Government that is at fault it is the often slavish adherance to 'the rules' that cost so much pain and grief to the ex-military. Until the ex Military are removed from the 'Social Security' system the failures will continue.

  • Comment number 97.

    Is the government breaking covenant with military?

    Successive Government's have broken military covenant's

  • Comment number 98.

    Just LOOK BACK in the British armed forces HISTORY. You will find that NO government has kept any promises to there MACHINE GUN FODDER! Oh yes, they make them before and during a conflict, but as soon as it finishes, the renege on the deal. I just can never understand why people want to put there lives on the line for ANY politician or government. They are all liars! Just remember the last 3 governments and the lies they told and have currently told the people of the UK. I can remember when I was young, the first war wounded begging in the streets of London. They were blind, limbless and in pitiful condition. Even the second war injured were the same in my late teens and twenties. Yes the officer elite get well looked after, but the poor old squadie never does. Still, I suppose it takes all sorts of people to be gullible.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    I posted a comment earlier saying I couldn't understand why people still join the army despite lack of backing by successive governments.

    I would like to add that I completely support all our servicemen fighting for this country and our government probably doesn't deserve these amazing men that give their life for their country.....it really puts our politicians to shame and shows them up for what they really are.

 

Page 1 of 4

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.