Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Saturday, 3 May 2008 00:05 UK

New fund to support war veterans

The fund will help people leaving the armed forces

A new fund is to be created to support ex-servicemen and women, it has been revealed.

Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell will unveil plans to create the Scottish Veterans' Fund next week.

The Scottish Government has never previously provided dedicated funding for veterans' issues north of the border.

But it does have responsibility to veterans in housing, health and social care, education and employability.

Mr Maxwell is expected to announce details of the new fund when he speaks at the Ministry of Defence Scottish Veterans' Conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Mr Maxwell said: "The welfare and well-being of Scotland's veterans is important to everyone.

It is the responsibility of us all to ensure we do all we can to ensure that the veteran's community receives the level and quality of services they deserve
Stewart Maxwell
Communities Minister

"For the vast majority of men and women leaving the armed forces the transition back to civilian life is a smooth and trouble-free experience.

"For a minority of service leavers though, the re-integration with civic society is far from easy.

"A whole range of obstacles and circumstances can conspire to deprive these men and women of the opportunity to lead fulfilling and successful lives."

He added: "It is the responsibility of us all to ensure we do all we can, within the resources available to us, to ensure that the veterans' community receives the level and quality of services that they deserve."

Ron Smith, chairman of Veterans Scotland, said his organisation would "fully support and welcome" the creation of a dedicated Scottish veterans' fund.

"This is a further example of our work with the Scottish Government to deliver for the needs and aspirations of Scotland's veterans," he said.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon announced last year that veterans were to be given priority on the NHS to treat problems arising from their military service.

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