Redundant soldiers may get housing aid

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The Royal British Legion has welcomed a proposal to prioritise soldiers returning to Northampton on the council housing list.

The proposal is one of several included in a draft community covenant between Northampton Borough Council and the military, which will be discussed by the local authority cabinet next week

Joe Heffernan, chairman of the Royal British Legion, Northampton branch, said: “It’s an issue. A lot of people within the forces live in married quarters and many of those will be among the thousands being made redundant imminently.

“They have not only lost their job they have lost their home.

“I’m going out to ex-soldiers who are destitute and living in homes they can’t afford.

“I’m sure they will appreciate the gesture.”

The community covenant action plan also pledges to works with voluntary and other groups to encourage ex-service and service personnel to take up any benefits, discounts and disability adaptation grants they are entitled to.

Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “Northampton has a long and proud tradition of support for the military, which is just as important today when we all acknowledge the debt we owe the Armed Forces for the security and freedom we enjoy.

“Now we want to show our support in practical ways and by making it clear how we can help servicemen and women, veterans and their families.

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THE covenant will apply to soldiers injured in operations, such as Afghanistan, but it is expected to help many more who will be made redundant this year. The Ministry of Defence has outlined a third round of 5,300 Army redundancies as it tries to reduce the number of regulars by 2017. 
Northampton Royal British Legion chairman, Joe Heffernan, said: “Some people might ask why should you favour ex-armed forces over someone who has been a long time on a waiting list.
“It’s a difficult one because we all knew what would happen if we got made redundant. Are we owed something extra? It’s a personal feeling, but I think we are.
“I think it’s a good initiative by the council and I hope it’s passed.”