Veterans' campaigners hailed a “major step forward” in help for the armed forces after Prime Minister David Cameron accepted demands for the military covenant to be enshrined in law.
The principle that those who fight for their country should not be disadvantaged as a result — and can sometimes merit special treatment — is to be written into the Armed Forces Bill, the Prime Minister has announced.
Specific benefits in areas such as housing, health and education will not be put on a statutory basis because of fears it could leave the Ministry of Defence “permanently embroiled” in court action.
But they will be published and debated annually by parliament in what Defence Secretary Liam Fox said should please both military top brass and armed forces charities.
The news was welcomed by East Belfast MLA Michael Copeland.
“The news that the rights of British servicemen and women are to be further protected is to be welcomed,” he said.