Plan to turn covenant into law is welcomed

An exercise involving Hampshire emergency services has been held on board HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth

Portsmouth firefighters tackle blaze on HMS Queen Elizabeth in mock emergency first on the new ship

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THE head of the Fleet Air Arm has praised the government’s plan to make the ‘military covenant’ into law.

Rear Admiral Tom Cunningham said he was pleased to hear the long-standing – but unwritten – promise that armed forces personnel will be looked after when they come home is to be given the force of law.

It is believed Prime Minister David Cameron will unveil proposals to recognise the ‘unique service’ of military personnel next week.

The move follows widespread criticism of cuts to military spending in last year’s Strategic Defence and Spending Review.

Rear Admiral Cunningham said: ‘I welcome any attempt to improve the wellbeing of servicemen.

‘However a large part of the covenant is intangible.

‘It is a moral contract, so I do not think it would be possible to codify all of it.

‘But there are definitely aspects which can be written into law, such as healthcare and pensions for those who finish their service.

‘I look forward to seeing how much the government can do.’

The military covenant has existed since Henry VIII’s time and only officially applies to the army; however in practice it is also relied upon by the RAF and the navy.