The following article has been archived, and is not kept up-to-date.


canstockphoto25616243optThe Government has confirmed that the registration deadline in order to vote in the EU referendum is being extended by 48 hours to MIDNIGHT (2359 hours BST) this THURSDAY 9TH JUNE. Visit aboutmyvote.co.ukaboutmyvote.co.uk now to register online in good time.

You don't need to register again if you are already registered, which you are if you received a polling card or postal vote for the elections across the country on 11th May, and haven't changed your address since then.

canstockphoto25616243optTime is running out to register to vote ahead of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union on 23 June. The deadline to register is midnight on Tuesday 7 June.

Since the launch of the Electoral Commission’s public awareness campaign on 15 May, over 1.35 million people in England, Wales and Scotland have already applied online to register to vote.

canstockphoto25616243optARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE? If you aren’t already registered to vote, you must register by Tuesday 7 June if you want to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June. It takes about 5 minutes to register online. You will need your National Insurance number. But you don't need to register again if you could have voted in the recent local elections, and haven't changed your address since then.

DO YOU NEED TO ARRANGE A PROXY OR POSTAL VOTE? If so, you must apply by 5pm on Wednesday 8 June (or Friday 3 June in Northern Ireland). But postal votes for service voters will start to be issued on 23 May, so the sooner you apply the better.

The Army Servicewomen’s Network (ASN), a network that seeks to support, inspire and develop Army Servicewomen, is holding its annual conference on Tuesday 21 June 2016, 8am to 5:30pm at the Tidworth Garrison Theatre. The conference is open to women and men of all ranks, Regular or Reserve.

Veterans and their family members are being asked to say what they think about the provision of mental health services by taking part in an NHS England survey that closes soon - on 31 March 2016. This consultation is really important. If you are a veteran and use, or have used, NHS mental health services, please take the time to take part.

Some media are claiming that some serving personnel are likely to defy a ban on serving personnel particpating in tomorrow's protest march in support of jailed "Marine A", Al Blackman. Inevitably there are differing views as to whether such a ban is appropriate. The writer, barrister, and RN reservist Frank Ledwidge put the case on Radio 4 against the ban. Another view was posted by the BAFF chairman on the Army Rumour Service website 'ARRSE':

There is a service for military veterans to have their hip or knee arthritis assessed and, if appropriate have joint replacement surgery. We understand that the service is led by Lt Col Carl Meyer, Military Consultant Hip and Knee Arthroplasty Surgeons at Oswestry’s Specialist Orthopaedic Hospital.

For those registered Scottish voters who have already arranged a postal vote, your postal ballot pack should be posted to you today Tuesday 26 August or tomorrow.

If you want a postal or proxy vote and have not have arranged one, you can still apply until 3 September, which would be leaving it very late. The deadline to register to vote is 2 September. Don't be lastminute.com if you want your vote to count in this historic decision.

More than four million official poll cards have been posted out to voters in Scotland this week. Poll cards give details of your polling place and the polling hours, 7am to 10pm. Keep your card for polling day on 18 September because although you do not need to have it with you on the day, it will save time if you take it to the polling station and show it to the staff there.

Your poll card also has details of how to vote. Your address should also have received the Electoral Commission's 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum Voting Guide; if not, click here for an online copy. Also available: DIN2013DIN01-242 Scottish Independence Referendum - Guidance for Service personnel wishing to vote. The Q&A from the DIN were widely published online - such as here on the RAF Community Support websitehere on the RAF Community Support website.

An internal reminder has been issued recently to encourage all eligible personnel and their families to register to vote.

The Government has now confirmed acceptance of Sir John Holmes's latest recommendations, introducing new clasps for Cyprus 1963-64 and the Berlin Airlift, and introducing revised qualification criteria for the South Atlantic Medal (1982) and the General Service Medal with clasp 'CYPRUS' for operations 1955-59. Full details below.

BAFF congratulates all who are to benefit from the announced changes.

In conjunction with events to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy landings, the Government of France has advised the Ministry of Defence that it wishes to award the Legion d'Honneur to all surviving veterans; not only of the landings, but also the wider Battle for Normandy; the Invasion of Provence (Operation Dragoon); the Liberation of Paris and the Liberation of France.

Following a change to the Referendum Bill currently being considered in the Scottish Parliament, the 16 and 17 year old children of relevant service families outwith Scotland WILL be able to vote in the Scottish independence referendum on 18 September, 2014.

The change will apply to eligible teenagers living with a relevant service voter parent in England, Wales or Northern Ireland - not only those overseas.

It appears however that service children will only be allowed to register and vote in the referendum if their service parent is themselves registered to vote in Scotland as a service voter.

Timed to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference, Mr Hammond, the Secretary of State announced a new ‘Forces Help to Buy’ scheme to help personnel buy their first home. The £200m trial will start from April 2014 for the next 3 years and will offer Regular personnel loans of up to 50% salary, capped at £25,000, interest-free and repayable over a 10-year period.

The House of Commons Digital Outreach Team has issued this information about live TV coverage of the Syria debate today, Thursday 29 Aug:

Some members and supporters have informed BAFF that they did not receive the email newsletter which went out in mid-August.. We have identified and are working on the problem and will send the September newsletter shortly. In the meantime, to see the August newsletter please LOG IN then click this link: See latest newsletter

With Danish personnel serving robustly alongside our own troops in Afghanistan, BAFF highly values its friendship with EUROMIL member HKKF (Danish Army Private Soldiers and Corporals Association). A BAFF parliamentary reception at Westminster in 2009 included presentations by HKKF, and by a senior serving Danish officer who told parliamentarians about the vital contribution by military representative associations to his command in Helmand.

Today's Scotsman leads with claims by former officers that the Ministry of Defence decision to move the army out of Edinburgh and sell off its historic buildings is financially driven, unpopular and gives the impression of "chaos at the top". BAFF comment: The availability of land for a new major training area is likely to be a major element in this decision, but the needs of personnel and their families also need be taken into account. The Scotsman story continues:

After the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition's first 100 days in office, the BBC's Defence Correspondent Caroline Wyatt writes that the coalition is in a difficult position on defence: "It inherited an unpopular war in Afghanistan, as well as a black hole in the defence procurement budget of some £37bn of equipment - ordered over the next decade without the guaranteed funding to pay for it."

The Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition has published the full text of its Coalition Agreement on a programme for government. Click to view the Defence and Foreign Affairs sections of the agreement. The full text can be viewed here.


8. DEFENCE

The Government believes that we need to take action to safeguard our national security at home and abroad. We also recognise that we need to do much more to ensure that our Armed Forces have the support they need, and that veterans and their families are treated with the dignity that they deserve.

•  We will maintain Britain's nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives. We will immediately play a strong role in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and press for continued progress on multilateral disarmament.

•  We will aim to reduce Ministry of Defence running costs by at least 25%.

•  We will work to rebuild the Military Covenant by:

– ensuring that Service personnel's rest and recuperation leave can be maximised;

– changing the rules so that Service personnel only have to register once on the Service register;

– exploring the potential for including Service children as part of our proposals for a pupil premium;

– providing university and further education scholarships for the children of Servicemen and women who have been killed on active duty since 1990;

– providing support for ex-Service personnel to study at university,

– creating a new programme, 'Troops for Teachers', to recruit ex-Service personnel into the teaching profession;

– providing extra support for veteran mental health needs; and

– reviewing the rules governing the awarding of medals.

•  We will double the operational allowance for Armed Forces personnel serving in Afghanistan, and include Armed Forces pay in our plans for a fair pay review.

•  We will ensure that injured personnel are treated in dedicated military wards.

•  We will look at whether there is scope to refurbish Armed Forces' accommodation from efficiencies within the Ministry of Defence.

•  We will support defence jobs through exports that are used for legitimate purposes, not internal repression, and will work for a full international ban on cluster munitions.


15. FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Government believes that Britain must always be an active member of the global community, promoting our national interests while standing up for the values of freedom, fairness and responsibility. This means working as a constructive member of the United Nations, NATO and other multilateral organisations including the Commonwealth; working to promote stability and security; and pushing for reform of global institutions to ensure that they reflect the modern world.

•  We will take forward our shared resolve to safeguard the UK's national security and support our Armed Forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

•  We will push for peace in the Middle East, with a secure and universally recognised Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state.

•  We will work to establish a new 'special relationship' with India and seek closer engagement with China, while standing firm on human rights in all our bilateral relationships.

•  We will maintain a strong, close and frank relationship with the United States.

•  We want to strengthen the Commonwealth as a focus for promoting democratic values and development.

•  We will work to promote stability in the Western Balkans.

•  We will support concerted international efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

•  We support reform of the UN Security Council, including permanent seats for Japan, India, Germany, Brazil and African representation.

•  We will work to intensify our cultural, educational, commercial and diplomatic links with many nations beyond Europe and North America to strengthen the UK's relations with the fastest-growing areas of the world economy.

•  We will never condone the use of torture.

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Soldiers who are sick or injured will be given enhanced support to help them successfully return to duty or transition into civilian life under new plans announced by the MOD today, Thursday 11 February 2010.

The Army Recovery Capability (ARC) will take soldiers from the point of injury or illness through to their return to duty or into a successful and supported civilian life.

Defence spending is lowest since the 1930s

By Christopher Hope Whitehall Editor and George Jones

Published: 12:01AM GMT 22 Jan 2007

Britain spends less of its wealth on defence than Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey despite the constant demands placed on its Armed Forces, official figures show.

According to the Conservatives, defence spending as a proportion of the UK's gross domestic product is at its lowest since 1930, before the UK recognised the rising threat of Nazi Germany.

Cost-cutting imposed by the Ministry of Defence is now threatening the Navy's warship-building programme and leading to unprecedented levels of disaffection among senior serving and recently retired officers....

 

MoD: Human rights ruling does not alter commanders' authority to make operational decisions, nor does it leave them open to personal legal challenge

According to a post on the unofficial 'Army Rumour Service'unofficial 'Army Rumour Service', the Chief of the Defence Staff issued the following statement on the day of the Appeal Court ruling in Secretary of State for Defence v R (Smith)Secretary of State for Defence v R (Smith):

"We are disappointed by this judgment, which allows claims to be brought against the Department under the Human Rights Act in relation to operations overseas. It has potential implications for the ability of our Armed Forces to conduct such operations, which we are now considering carefully.

"We take very seriously the duty of care we have to our people. But we have consistently argued that, in the heat of battle, during dynamic, fast-moving military operations on foreign territory, it would be unrealistic to expect to be able to guarantee the rights and freedoms which the European Convention on Human Rights seeks to secure.

"Nevertheless, I want to reassure commanders at all levels that this judgment does not alter their authority to make operational decisions, nor does it leave them open to personal legal challenge. Any claims under the Human Rights Act would be brought against the Department, not individual commanders; legal liability under the Act lies with MOD.


"Meanwhile, we shall continue to argue for a legal framework that enables our Armed Forces to sustain the very high level of effectiveness in difficult and dangerous operations that they have demonstrated so convincingly in recent years."

The highlighted paragraph is what BAFF had been saying along, but was in stark contrast with the MOD's own public reaction to the judgement -

... We are very concerned by the attempt to insert lawyers into the chain of command in the middle of a battle, which would only create uncertainty, hesitation and potentially greater risk to our people. [MoD Defence News, 19 May 2009]

 

The British Armed Forces Federation welcomed members of both Houses to a parliamentary reception on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 to explain more about the campaign for recognition of a professional staff association for the armed forces.

From the News of the World, Nov 2007

DEFENCE chiefs could be SUED over the squalid homes given to soldiers returning from war zones.

The troops' union is planning to take Defence Secretary Des Browne to court for compensation for servicemen and women forced to live in leaking, rat-infested old barracks.

And the British Armed Forces Federation (BAFF) wants the Ministry of Defence to be ordered to refurbish the run-down homes. BAFF chairman Doug Young said: "It beggars belief that the absolute worst barracks seem to have been reserved for some of the same units who have been fighting hardest in Afghanistan."

BAFF is in talks with troops and is offering free legal representation for any of its members who want to take the MOD on. A report recently revealed 19,000 soldiers and their families are living in conditions described by former top soldier General Sir Mike Jackson as "shaming".

BAFF can be contacted on...


(Originally published by News of the World, Nov 2007)

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I was also concerned that service personnel were beginning to think it was necessary to form an independent organisation - the British Armed Forces Federation - to lobby for improved living accommodation, better medical care and enhanced compensation claim limits.

In my book, looking after individuals should naturally be a principal duty of the chain of command, and I was determined to make the group's existence superfluous. If I, and my senior colleagues, did our jobs properly there would be no need for a federation or union. I was determined that such a movement was not going to gather momentum on my watch.

Autobiography (2010) of General Sir Richard Dannatt (now Lord Dannatt) - CGS 2006-9