By Lucy Ashton
Dame Jackie Baillie has given her backing to the Credit their Service campaign by the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland who argue that veterans and their families are being denied thousands of pounds in benefits due to an unjust system.
The organisations which represent servicemen and women say that compensation awarded to 12,000 veterans and their families is considered as income when undergoing welfare benefit means tests.
Dame Jackie Baillie; a group of veterans on a visit to the Gareloch and the Veteran’s badge.
In contrast, civil awards like personal injury or medical negligence compensation are exempt from such tests and this means that members of the Armed Forces community are missing out on significant sums of money.
Poppyscotland and the Royal British Legion believe that means testing of military compensation breaches a promise made by the UK Government in 2011 that the Armed Forces community should not face any disadvantages compared to other citizens when accessing public and commercial services.
In 2022, approximately 150,000 veterans and their families, including 12,000 in Scotland alone were recipients of such compensation.
Given the close links which our area has with the Armed Forces, Dame Jackie believes that local people will be impacted.
The Dumbarton constituency MSP said: “It is shocking that members of the Armed Forces should be disadvantaged financially because of their service. Our local communities have long been associated with the Armed Forces and I know there are a significant number of veterans who still reside here. They deserve our support.
“This situation is completely unacceptable and must be reviewed as a matter of urgency.
“I thank Poppyscotland and the British Royal Legion for highlighting this and I urge the Scottish Government to liaise with the UK Government and work together to ensure fairness for members of our Armed Forces.”
Top picture: Veterans’ Day in Dumbarton. Picture by Bill Heaney