- new railcard, available from Armistice Day this year, will help boost veterans’ job prospects and strengthen family bonds through cheaper travel
- over 830,000 eligible for a third off their fares, saving veterans and their families hundreds of pounds a year
- discount forms part of government’s new veterans strategy to support former servicemen and women
Military veterans will get cut-price train travel to help boost job prospects and bring them closer to family and friends, with a new railcard on sale from Armistice Day, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today (22 January 2020).
Available from Armistice Day this year, the railcard will extend discounted train travel to the more than 830,000 veterans not covered by existing discounts.
Joined by veterans at St Pancras railway station, the Transport Secretary and the Minister for the Cabinet Office underlined the government’s commitment to supporting former service personnel and recognised their service to the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Every part of society should honour the debt we owe those who’ve served our country. I’m proud that the Department for Transport, together with other government colleagues and the rail industry, is doing its bit.
“This railcard will help open up opportunities to veterans, whether through employment and retraining, or by strengthening links with friends and family. I believe that enabling former service personnel to travel more easily is the least we can do.”
The money-saving announcement, delivering on a manifesto commitment, forms part of the government’s veterans strategy.
This action plan, which is also being launched today, outlines what government is doing to deliver more for our veterans and sets out holistic support for those who served, in areas including community and relationships, employment and skills, health and wellbeing, finance and debt, housing, and contact with the law.
The strategy will be coordinated by the recently-established Office for Veterans Affairs.
Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden, who represents the Office for Veterans Affairs (OVA) in Cabinet said:
“The Office for Veterans’ Affairs was set up to get things done for our veterans. I am pleased to see that the OVA is already able to show it is achieving just this, working with the Department for Transport to deliver this railcard.
“Our new action plan will help to make the UK the best place in the world for veterans. The Office for Veterans’ Affairs will drive the plan from the heart of government, working to help veterans on jobs, housing and health, through better data and a more joined up approach.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:
“Discounted train travel is a fantastic way to recognise those who have served this country, and the speed at which plans have been worked up shows how seriously we are taking our commitments to make the UK the best country in the world to be a veteran.
“The railcard is only the start though, and I’m clear we need to do more to look after the people who so selflessly put their lives on the line to look after us.
“Now the action plan has been published, I look forward to continuing to drive forward this issue across government and the services we offer.”
Today, the government is also releasing its response for the consultation into the veterans strategy, which includes an action plan on how the Office for Veterans’ Affairs will coordinate departments to help veterans over the next 2 years.
Public responses to the consultation underlined the need for a more coordinated approach to veterans support. Other key findings include a call to promote a positive perception of veterans and a need to increase awareness of the support already offered from across central and local government.