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Ex-armed forces personnel in need of housing will be able to benefit from funding for life-changing accommodation initiatives across the country, Defence Minister Anna Soubry has announced today, 4 February.
The new funding, guaranteed through LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) fines imposed on banks, has doubled the total amount the government has given to armed forces’ and veterans’ charities through this scheme, which is part of the nation’s commitment to the armed forces covenant.
Today’s announcement was made by the defence minister during a visit to Blind Veterans UK in Brighton, and demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to our armed forces, veterans and their families.
Thousands of veterans are expected to benefit from this additional £40 million, which will help charities build new homes, buy new accommodation or spruce up old facilities. Projects are expected to include hostels and half-way houses for veterans who have fallen on hard times, supported housing for the wounded, injured and sick, and long-term care homes.
Speaking from Blind Veterans UK in Brighton, Anna Soubry said:
The men and women of our armed forces have served their country with honour and bravery so it is only right that we help meet their housing needs when they have fallen on hard times, been wounded in service or need day-to-day care and support once they have left the armed forces.
I am delighted that we have been able to double the amount we have already invested in projects through the LIBOR fines. This new funding demonstrates our unwavering commitment to our armed forces community and will help transform thousands of lives across the UK.
Around 2,300 veterans are already benefiting from the £35 million given out to LIBOR-funded projects over the past year. LIBOR funding is one example of the armed forces covenant in action. The covenant is about ensuring that the armed forces community is not disadvantaged due to their links to the armed forces.
Since 2011, the armed forces covenant has helped regular serving personnel in a number of ways, including placing them at the top of the priority list for the government’s £500 million FirstBuy scheme in England, providing £150 million for the purchase of over 700 properties, and doubling the tax-free operational allowance.
Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Robert Leader, added:
Blind Veterans UK was delighted to have been awarded £1 million from the LIBOR fines money in September 2013. The donation is going towards a major refurbishment of Blind Veterans UK’s Brighton care, rehabilitation and training centre. These alterations will enable all those using the centre to be helped in a safe environment for both themselves and the staff.
Today’s announcement coincides with the launch of the new veterans’ helpline number to ensure that veterans facing any housing difficulties will be able to seek help at any time. The new number, 0808 191 42 18, has been improved to become more memorable for veterans, with extended operating hours to provide support for any callers in crisis.