Armed Forces Covenant
The Community Covenant Scheme was launched by the Government in 2011 It is a voluntary scheme of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces community
The Armed Forces Covenant was signed by Halton Borough Council in June 2012.
Halton Borough Council and the Armed Forces community are working together to:
- Encourage support for the Armed Forces community working and residing in Runcorn & Widnes.
- Recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the Armed Forces community.
- Encourage activities which help to integrate the Armed Forces community into local life.
- Encourage the Armed Forces community to help and support the wider community.
Halton Borough Council works alongside Jobcentre Plus to provide for the needs of those currently serving and who have previously served in the Armed Forces.
The Department for Work and Pensions has employed an Armed Forces Champion in all Jobcentre Plus districts. These champions are responsible for ensuring the needs of the service community are reflected by the employment offered by Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus for the Armed Forces focuses on:
- Service leavers.
- Serving personnel currently within their resettlement period.
- Spouses/civil partners of currently serving and ex-service personnel.
Registered Social Landlords with Halton will place all members of the Armed Forces who are in housing need into Band B (high priority), within 3 months of discharge.
Halton Borough Council works closely with local schools to develop an understanding and support for the children of those in service.
In 2012 the new School Admissions Code and Infant Class Size Regulations came into force which offered additional support to Forces children. The admittance of a Forces child became one of the ‘excepted permissions’ of the code for all admission authorities. This allows authorities to admit a Forces child over the class size ruling, which states there must be one teacher for every 30 pupils, providing proof of a posting is received. HBC enforces this legislation.
Halton Borough Council pledges to ensure all parts of the National Health Service (NHS) will offer support to the local Armed Forces community and make it easier for service personnel, ex-service personnel, families and veterans to access services, help and support.
Under the Armed Forces Covenant it is the responsibility of the NHS that the Armed Forces Community should enjoy the same standard of and access to healthcare as that received by any other UK citizen in the area they live.
For family members, primary healthcare may be provided by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), for example when service personnel are posted overseas. They should retain their relative position on any NHS waiting list, if moved around the UK due to the service personnel being posted.
Veterans should receive priority treatment where it relates to a condition resulting from service, subject to clinical need.
Council Tax & Benefits
Those living in Service accommodation are exempt from paying council tax. Instead they are required to pay a contribution in lieu of council tax.
Those in receipt of a war disablement pension or war widow(er)s pension are now protected working age groups and so are protected from changes under the council tax reduction scheme.
Under national legislation blue badges are now available for:
- Those in receipt of War Pensioners Mobility Supplement; and
- Those awarded a benefit at tariffs one to eight under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and certified by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes either inability or considerable difficulty in walking.
More information is available from Halton Borough Council
Support Groups & Charities