The Independent’s Homeless Veterans campaign for ex-servicemen and women who have fallen on hard times was given another boost today, with a £250,000 donation from the Government.
The money came from a fine imposed on the Ministry of Defence for breaching rules aimed at clamping down on tax avoidance.
Unveiling the donation, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: “Our veterans are the best of the best, and they deserve the best of help if they hit a difficult patch in their lives. I salute [this] inspiring campaign and am delighted to be able to announce this money.”
The donation brings the total raised by the campaign to at least £1.25m.
Money from the appeal goes to two charities – Veterans Aid and ABF the Soldiers’ Charity – which help former forces personnel who have hit rock bottom, and work to prevent others from reaching that point. The campaign officially finished last month.
In pictures: Homeless Veterans appeal
In pictures: Homeless Veterans appeal
1/20 Glynn Barrell
Glyn Barrell is among the veterans hoping to benefit from the self-build scheme in Plymouth
2/20 Rachel Holliday
Rachel Holliday is converting a police station into a hostel
3/20 Androcles Scicluna
Veteran Androcles Scicluna says performing boosted his confidence
4/20 Christopher Cole
Christopher Cole, 51, from London, spent three years in the Army but left in 1982
5/20 Maurillia Simpson
Former servicewoman Maurillia Simpson with the medals she won at last year’s Invictus Games
Jeremy Selwyn/Evening Standard
6/20 Martin Rutledge
Head of The Soldiers’ Charity, Martin Rutledge, says charities sometimes allow emotion to dictate their choices
7/20 Ben Griffin
Ben Griffin wants to open people’s eyes to the cycle of political violence
8/20 Robin Horsfall
Robin Horsfall, who fought in the Falklands and helped end the Iranian embassy siege
9/20 Mark Hayward
A bed for the night and food helped Mark Hayward out of misfortune
10/20 Ashley Rosser
Ashley Rosser, who served in the RAF, at the Veterans Aid hostel in east London
11/20 Dave Henson
Britain's Invictus Games captain Dave Henson says veterans’ charities helped rebuild his life
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
12/20 Hugh Milroy
Hugh Milroy dispels myths about war-zone veterans through his work as the CEO of Veterans Aid
13/20 Andy MacFarlane and Julie Taylor
Former soldiers Andy MacFarlane and Julie Taylor work at the Jaguar Land Rover plant in Solihull under a covenant connecting veterans with employers
14/20 Mark McKillion
Mark McKillion's experience of living on the street eventually left him feeling as though the only way to escape was to end his life. He survived his desperate jump from Westminster Bridge, and VA's help has restored his "faith in humanity"
Nigel, a navy veteran, remembers living on the beach in the run-up to Christmas, when it rained every day for a week. He slept on a bench for seven years whilst suffering from Parkinson's disease.
16/20 Keith Cooper
Before Keith Cooper had his place confirmed at Avondale House in Newcastle, he was working out whether he could afford to buy a tent to live in
17/20 Simon Weston
Simon Weston, a Falklands War veteran, said even something as simple as a cup of tea can be an important step in getting the life of a homeless veteran back on track.
18/20 Ian Palmer, professor of military psychiatry
Ian Palmer, the first professor of military psychiatry to the British Armed Forces, says that the depiction of all ex-service personnel having post-traumatic stress disorder may stop people who really need help from getting it
19/20 Douglas Cameron
Evgeny Lebedev with Douglas Cameron, who had a hernia operation while serving in Burma
Johnnie Shand Kidd
20/20 Veterans Aid
General Sir Mike Jackson, President of ABF The Soldiers' Charity, called for donations to the Homeless Veterans appeal
The MoD was fined £1m recently over breaches of strict new rules for paying senior government staff off payroll.
Mr Alexander announced the changes nearly three years ago, amid concerns that such arrangements could make it easier for employees to avoid tax.
A review of government departments and other agencies found more than 2,400 key public sector staff had been engaged off-payroll, in some cases for more than 10 years. It is not clear how many exploited the loophole. The MoD was fined for failing to seek the necessary assurances from some contractors that the new rules were being met. The mistake is understood to be due to an administrative error in 2012-13.
Hugh Milroy, CEO of Veterans Aid, said: “This couldn’t have come at a better time. For many years our daily work has focused completely on helping veterans in genuine crisis, so it is entirely appropriate for this money to be used to support ex-servicemen and women.”
Major-General (Retired) Martin Rutledge, chief executive ABF the Soldiers’ Charity, said: “I am delighted about this decision to give the money to homeless veterans. As the national charity of the Army, we can steward this money to where it’s really needed and with the minimum of red tape.
“I’m heartened by the way that many sections of the community – from the generous British public, to public-spirited businesses and now the Government – recognise this is an important area of need. A fantastic effort by all concerned.”
A £300,000 donation by Lloyds Bank lifted the funds raised for the Homeless Veterans campaign – run in conjunction with the Independent’s sister newspapers, The Independent on Sunday, i newspaper and the London Evening Standard – to its £1m target earlier this month.
Separately, the Government is donating £750,000 to help veterans from across the country travel to London to mark VE commemorations in May.Reuse content