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Support for veterans
The first annual report on support for Scotland's armed forces and veterans was published today.
This shows that progress has been made on a number of Scottish Government commitments.
Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said that better support is now in place for Scottish veterans and armed forces, but there is more to do.
Examples of progress include:
- State of the art prosthetic limbs for injured service personnel and veterans, made available through NHS Scotland.
- A city centre one-stop-shop service for veterans, providing support and advice on housing, jobs and health under one roof
- Priority access to shared-equity schemes for all eligible armed forces members and veterans who wish to buy their first home
- A commitment published in May this year to offer free bus travel for those who have been seriously injured on duty by 2011
- A Scottish Veterans Fund, backed by £240,000, to fund projects that provide a range of help for veterans
Mr Neil said:
"This government is committed to doing all that it can to meet the needs of all our servicemen and women, both past and present.
"Through our Commitments Paper, we have introduced a series of initiatives to improve support for these brave men and women, and ensure they receive the best possible help to integrate back into civilian life.
"Specialised NHS treatments, free bus travel and access to schemes to buy a home and find a job will hopefully all make life easier and good progress has been made to increase support in a number of other areas.
"However there is more to do and I can give a guarantee to those who have served our country, that we will continue to listen to what they need and look for the best ways to increase support."
In July 2008, the Scottish Government published Scotland's Veterans and Armed Forces Communities: meeting our commitment. This was published on the same day as the MOD Command Paper.
The paper focused on actions to improve health, housing, transport, education, employment and employability for Scotland veterans and armed forces.
Major General (Retired) David McDowall has recently been appointed as a consultant to the Scottish Government, reporting to Dr Kevin Woods, Director General Health and the Scottish Government's Armed Service Advocate. He will be looking at devolved issues around the welfare of armed forces - especially those about to be discharged back to civilian life - their families and veterans. Prior to his retirement in August, the Major General was head of Army 2 Division, the most senior officer in Scotland and the North of England.