Veterans and Dependants
Identifying numbers, characteristics and needs of veterans and their families is difficult as there is no single reliable source of such data nationally or locally. In the absence of such data, we have provided estimates based on a range of research.
Ex-Service Community Survey Report
Following its first major survey in 2005, The Royal British Legion (TRBL) conducted a comparative study in 2014 to estimate current and projected numbers of veterans and dependants in the UK and identify their health and wellbeing needs (see below).
While this is a respected and authoritative piece of research, to merely apply national prevalence figures to the Somerset population requires the assumption that the county is representative of the nation as a whole.
For instance, by applying the national proportions of:-
- Veterans comprising 5.4% of the 16+ population
- Adult dependants comprising 4.0% of the 16% population
- Child (under 16) dependants comprising 8.2% of the under 16 population
we have an overall estimate of almost 50,000 veterans and dependants in addition to about 3,000 current serving personnel.
However, if we apply the veterans prevalence estimates by each age group, the relatively elderly population of Somerset means that the estimated total is somewhat higher at about 53,500, although the 'sample error' means that the true figure could be much higher, or indeed lower.
Armed Forces Pension and Compensation recipients statistics
Ministry of Defence (MoD) data provides numbers of current armed forces pension and compensation recipients at different geographic levels. It does not show those entitled to deferred pension payments (minimum eligibility criteria is 2 years service). Data is separated into three main datasets:
- Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS). This includes AFPS 75 and AFPS 2005. Benefits are based on the rank and length of service of an individual. All personnel serving between 6 April 1975 and 6 April 2005 will have served under the AFPS 75 scheme. AFPS 05 benefits are based on length of service and final salary and personnel who joined after 6 April 2005 will be serving under the AFPS 05 scheme.
- War Pensions Scheme (WPS) operational from 1914 up to 2005. Provides no-fault compensation for all ex-Service personnel where illness, injury or death is caused by service from the start of the First World War in 1914 up until 5 April 2005. This scheme also covers War Widows, War Orphans, War Parents, Adult and Unmarried Dependants.
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) post 2005. Includes Reserve Forces, and came into force on 6 April 2005 to pay compensation for injury, illness or death caused by service on or after this date. The scheme can provide compensation for those still in-service as well as those who have left service.
| Location of Armed Forces Pension, War Pension & Compensation recipients: 31 March 2019
|| AFPS recipients
|| WPS recipients
- Almost half of Pension recipients live in South Somerset, the location of RNAS Yeovilton
- Armed forces pensioners’ locations also available at postal district, although these can overlap with other local authorities.
- Ex- Forces personnel, in the form of AFPS and WPS members, are more likely to live in the areas where bases are located (eg Yeovil, Ilchester, Taunton areas), although about one in three live in either Mendip, Sedgemoor or West Somerset districts.
- Individuals may be in receipt of awards from more than one scheme simultaneously.
- Figures do not include veterans who are not entitled to a pension
Annual Population Survey results
In January 2019, the MoD published a report based on data from the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Population Survey in 2017. This provides estimates on the size and socio-demographic characteristics of the UK veteran population living in households in England, Scotland and Wales.
From the results, the number of veterans living in Somerset (including the administrative areas of North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset) is estimated to be 46,000. At 6% of the adult population, this is above the England proportion of 5%.
Nationally, key findings from the report were as follows:
Veterans were estimated to be predominantly white (99%), male (89%) and/or aged 65 and over (60%).
Overall, there were no significant differences between working age and retirement age veterans (35% and 18% respectively) and non-veterans (35% and 20% respectively) who reported their general health as very good.
Veterans of working age and retirement age were more likely to have ever smoked (55% and 66% respectively) than non-veterans (44% and 56% respectively).
Veterans were as likely to have bought their own home (outright or with a mortgage) (76%) as non-veterans (78%)
There were no significant differences between working age veterans and non-veterans who had a qualification (92% and 89% respectively). However, there were significant differences between working age veterans and non-veterans who:
- Had a degree: 21% Veterans; 30% Non-veterans.
- Gained qualifications through work: 60% Veterans 43%; Non-veterans.
Working age veterans were as likely to be employed as non-veterans (79% for both groups). But there were significant differences in occupation held, with veterans aged 16-34 (when compared to non-veterans) being:
- More likely to work as ‘process, plant and machine operatives’ (18% and 8% respectively).
- Less likely to work in ‘professional occupations’ (11% and 20% respectively).
2011 Census: Working Age Armed Forces Veterans statistics
In September 2018, the Office for National Statistics published detailed local data on working age armed forces veterans using responses provided in the 2011 Census.
The figures revealed an estimated 10,389 UK Armed Forces veterans of working age in Somerset, making up 3.2 % of the working age population (nationally, the proportion was 2.0%).
- 14% of working age veterans in Somerset had a long-term health problem or disability which limited their day-to-day activity.
- Around three-quarters (74%) owned their own property.
- More than four in five (85%) were employed.
- Around one-third (31%) were currently, or had previously worked, in skilled trades or as process, plant and machine operatives.
- One-third (33%) were currently, or had previously worked, in professional, or associate professional and technical occupations.
A further statistical bulletin, published in October 2019, provided comparisons between working age UK Armed Forces veterans and working age usual residents across four key themes: general health and disability status; housing tenure and landlord status; education; and economic activity and occupation. The analysis concluded that there were no differences between working age veterans and working age usual residents in England and Wales which indicate veteran disadvantage across the four key themes of interest.
Some of the most notable differences between veterans and usual residents at national level were:
- Veterans who were renting were more likely to be in accommodation owned by their employer than usual residents (5% and <1% respectively).
- Veterans were more likely to have an ‘academic or professional’ qualification than usual residents (91% and 85% respectively), in particular, female veterans (94%) when compared with female usual residents (85%).
- Veterans were more likely to be in full-time employment than usual residents (58% and 43% respectively), and less likely to be students (2% and 7% respectively).
- Veterans were more likely to be employed in associate professional and technical occupations than usual residents (19% and 11% respectively).
GP Patients recorded as armed forces veterans
- At December 2015, there were 1,165 patients in Somerset with a GP record relating to service in Armed Forces, of whom 1,163 were veterans and two were reservists.
- 91% were men and 9% women
- Almost one in three were aged 75 or older, but one in five were under the age of 45 (see chart below)
Source: South West Commissioning Support Unit
Note: clearly not all armed forces veterans have been coded as such on GP records. Therefore it is not known whether the above age profile is an accurate representation of the total veteran community in Somerset.
Veterans Access to Work report
In 2016, Deloitte LLP, in conjunction with the Forces in Mind (FIM) Trust and the Officers’ Association, conducted research into the challenges faced by UK veterans entering employment.
Amongst the main findings were:
- Veterans still struggle to gain a foothold in civilian employment
- There is a persistent lack of understanding of the key skills which veterans possess
- However, organisations which have employed veterans are very positive about the benefits they bring
- Many of the skills veterans possess are in areas where organisations are experiencing gaps
- Most large or medium organisations expressed interest in recruiting veterans in the future but few are affiliated to any organisation or programme providing recruitment or transition support for those leaving the armed forces.
The research involved a combination of:-
The full report can be read on the FIM Trust website.
Action research on the presence and needs of the Armed Forces Community in the South West of England report – a report commissioned by councils in the South West of England to enhance understanding of the presence and needs of the local Armed Forces Community (AFC) in the region.
Veterans & Families Research Hub – source of UK and international discussion, literature and research about military veterans and their families, created by Anglia Ruskin University.
Loneliness and Social Isolation in the Armed Forces Community - Research by the Royal British Legion. See also Social Isolation and Loneliness