In villages, towns and cities across Britain, people of all ages, races and creeds will gather today to remember and show respect for the sacrifice of our Armed Forces.
For many of them, this will be a truly personal remembrance of a family member, a friend or someone from their community who gave their life in the service of our country.
Remembrance Sunday gives the nation the chance to show its gratitude to our Armed Forces, past and present, for what they have done and continue to do for us all. Their work to keep us safe and secure continues today in Afghanistan and many other parts of the world, as well as here at home.
I want to send my thanks and best wishes to all of our serving men and women, their families and our veterans.
An acknowledgement of the service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces is marked publicly on Remembrance Day. We must remember, respect and value it on every other day of the year too.
That’s why the Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the nation, the government and the armed forces, is so important. And at a local level, the community covenant is to encourage local communities to support the service community in their area and promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community.
Local authorities and the armed forces community are encouraged to work together to establish a community covenant in their area, and hundreds of councils have already adopted it.
I’m proud that so many Labour-run local authorities are working hard to support armed forces communities in their areas.
Glasgow City Council funds a Veterans’ Employment Programme to train and support those leaving service and help them get a job. Sheffield City Council exempts War Widow’s/ Widower’s Pensions and War Disablement Pensions in full when assessing the level of Council Tax support available to individuals. Gateshead Council provides the first month of leisure facilities membership free of charge to service personnel returning from conflict zones and allows them to pay a cheaper rate on a monthly rather than yearly basis. Liverpool City Council, via Liverpool Veterans’ Centre, is working with registered social landlords and private landlords to help service personnel transition to civilian life. Rochdale Council has implemented a policy which offers the families of fallen Service personnel who have died in active duty and were from the borough, the chance to have a street named after their loved one.
And on this Remembrance Sunday, I’m asking Labour councillors right across Britain to get involved and show their pride in our armed forces. I want local government to lead the way in supporting our brave servicemen and women, their families and veterans in communities up and down the country.
I want every Labour council to sign up to the community covenant to recognise the service provided by our armed forces and remember the sacrifices they have made. That’s how we will ensure that our gratitude, respect and support for the armed forces is something we show every day of the year, everywhere in Britain.
Vernon Coaker is the Shadow Defence Secretary