Cabinet Office unit for veterans' affairs gets £5m to staff up
Javid says funding is "not just our responsibility but also our duty" in pre-Spending Round announcement
Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA
The Treasury has allocated £5m to the Office for Veterans' Affairs, the Cabinet Office unit announced last month to oversee government support for ex-armed forces personnel.
The chancellor, Sajid Javid, will confirm the funding in the Spending Round on Wednesday, according to a joint announcement from the Treasury, Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence today.
Boris Johnson announced plans to set up the Office for Veterans’ Affairs shortly after being appointed prime minister in July.
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Staffed by civil servants from both the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence, the office will work with other government departments addressing the mental and physical health, education and employment of ex-armed forces personnel. The £5m will fund additional staff and resources, so that the office drive cross-Whitehall action to support veterans’ welfare.
It will be led by an as-yet unnamed civil servant, reporting to Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden and veterans minister Johnny Mercer, a former soldier. The two ministers will represent veterans’ issues at cabinet level.
Dowden said the funding would enable the OVA to “fight for [veterans] from the heart of government, and make sure this country never lets down those heroes who risked their lives to keep us all safe”.
The announcement is the latest in a series of funding pledges made since Johnson took up office in July, ahead of this week’s Spending Round.
Funding announcements include £1.8bn billed as a “new money” for the NHS, more than half of which was later shown to be existing reserves that trusts had previously been blocked from spending; funds to recruit more police officers and prisons places; and a three-year, £14bn package to reverse cuts to schools funding made since 2009-10.
But yesterday the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that without an updated forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government would not be able to know whether its spending promises would be sustainable after Brexit.
Trailing the OVA funding, Javid said: “This Spending Round is focused on public services. And no-one has given more than the service men and women who lay their lives on the line for all of us. Supporting them when they leave service is not just our responsibility but also our duty, which is why we’ve made funding the launch of the Office of Veterans' Affairs a top priority.”
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