The Veterans ID Card was introduced to allow veterans to easily verify their service to the NHS, their local authority, and charities, helping them to access support and services where needed.
A rollout of the cards began in 2019, but then stalled.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer, admitted there had been ‘technical challenges’ in introducing the ID cards, and recently told The Telegraph newspaper that the scheme would be delivered by summer 2023.
However, according to new analysis by Labour at the current rate, it could take more than 125 years for every veteran to get one. In fact figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that only 3% of veterans have received the cards since rollout in 2019 – that’s just over 56K out of 1.8M veterans.
Shadow Veterans Minister Rachel Hopkins said:
These figures are further evidence that while the Veterans’ Minister likes to talk, he has actually changed very little for our veterans.
The veterans’ ID card is supposed to help our society keep its promise with those who serve by ensuring quick access to services like healthcare. But the Conservatives have delivered just a fraction of the cards needed.
Our veterans don’t need empty promises, they need action. For their sake, I hope the minister can keep his promise but, based on his party’s record of delivery, I don’t like his chances.
A Government spokesperson reassured veterans of a new digital feature to help them. and explained:
The rollout of veteran ID cards is accelerating.
From next year, veterans will be able to access our new digital service which will enable them to quickly and easily verify their status online, playing a vital role in making sure those who need targeted support get fast access to a range of government services, from health to housing, as well as charity services. We have invested more than £1M into the service and look forward to delivering real change to the lives of our veterans.