Armed Forces

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“The Armed Forces play a vital role in the defence of the nation: government should have a deep sense of duty to properly support service personnel and veterans.” Liberal Democrat policy

What is the challenge?

The UK Armed Forces are a well-established and valuable part of Wiltshire society. Yet they have been damaged by uncertainty, with the lack of a long-term strategy, uncontrolled spending on some projects, cuts in others and growing skill gaps.

All of this is leading to issues with morale and recruitment. Armed forces personnel can be left out of local decision making and separated from the local communities in which they are based.

What will we do? 

Liberal Democrats understand the new challenges faced by the Armed Forces and are committed to properly supporting them. Nationally our policies include maintaining spending, attracting more skilled recruits and prioritising projects vital to 21st century defence.

Locally we will strive to find the best ways to apply the ‘Armed Forces Covenant’, which is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.

In Wiltshire, a Liberal Democrat Council will:

  • Work with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the British Army to ensure that the national Army Basing Programme benefits both military personnel and the civilian population;
  • Support the Military Civilian Integration Partnership and dedicate council officers to ensure its successful operation;
  • Support and strengthen our working relationship with the MOD through the area board network so that there is increased understanding of both civilian and military needs;
  • Encourage military personnel to use their expertise more in the wider community;
  • Facilitate the civilian settlement of veterans who wish to continue to live in the county.
  • Support and encourage town and parish councils to offer the freedom of the town/parish to local military units.
  • Encourage joined up approach with planning so military investment benefits the whole community. Making best use of section 106 agreements (whereby developers contribute to local services) for the benefit of all.

Immediate priorities

  • Review the impact of the Army Basing Programme with military representatives;

  • Seek the UK Armed Forces’ view on implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant’s two principles:

    • that members of the armed forces community should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services;

    • and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most, such as the injured or the bereaved
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