Armed forces charities to get £9.2m from bank fines

A soldier
Image caption The armed forces covenant - a commitment from the nation to the military - is now enshrined in law

David Cameron has announced 23 armed forces charities that will share £9.2m collected from fines imposed on the banking industry.

The money is the latest tranche of a £35m pot of fines awarded to military causes, including a new memorial to personnel killed in Afghanistan.

The PM also revealed the first 50 firms who have signed up to the government's armed forces corporate covenant.

Several have pledged to give discounts or special offers to forces customers.

The fines were levied on a number of UK banks for attempting to rig the Libor inter-bank lending rate.

'Moral obligation'

Some of the latest awards include:

  • £2.7m for Help for Heroes' Hidden Wounds programme, designed to support servicemen and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression
  • £85,000 for the Felix Fund to provide breaks for personnel such as bomb disposal experts returning from Afghanistan
  • £2.3m for the Royal Marines to provide a families and veterans centre
  • £50,000 to improve facilities at RAF Benson Community Primary School
  • £73,000 for Gardening Leave in Dundee, which provides horticultural therapy for serving personnel and veterans

The armed forces corporate covenant was announced in June and companies were invited to sign up to demonstrate their support for the military.

Among the first 50 signatories are:

  • Barclays, which has agreed to provide free phone calls for serving customers who need to contact the bank
  • National Express, which is offering the forces community a discount of 60% off all standard coach fares and a guaranteed interview scheme for eligible service leavers
  • Virgin Media, which says it will freeze the accounts of serving personnel for up to eight months while they are on overseas duties
  • The AA, which has also agreed to freeze accounts and give discounted membership to all serving personnel

Speaking at a reception at Number 10 on Tuesday, Mr Cameron said: "It is fantastic that so many armed forces charities have now been able to benefit from fines from the banking industry - it is right that this money should be used to benefit the forces community."

"The whole nation owes a moral obligation to our troops and these companies are leading the way by making respect and support for the armed forces a part of everything they do."

The covenant was enshrined in law in 2011, setting out the moral obligation owed to the armed forces by the government and the nation.

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