Liz Truss welcomes new railcard which will benefit RAF Marham veterans
South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss has welcomed today's launch of the Veterans Railcard which will offer thousands of additional military veterans up to one-third off most rail fares.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the new railcard will affect 830,000 veterans, and will be valid from November 5. It will also extend discounted travel to a named companion and up to four dependent children, if travelling with the cardholder.
Ms Truss said personnel at RAF Marham and their families will rightly benefit from the new scheme.
The MP said: "This is extremely positive news for veterans and recognises the vital work they have done protecting our nation. In South West Norfolk we have RAF Marham, home to the F-35 Stealth Fighter.
"Over the years I have met many of the serving personnel and their families from the base, they contribute so much of their working life to the armed forces so it is only right that once they leave the services they can benefit from additional assistance and the railcard will support opportunities for future jobs, retraining as well as staying connected with friends and family."
Mr Shapps said the scheme was an important pledge in the government's manifesto.
He said: "I believe it is important that our veterans have access to this railcard, supporting their access to vital work prospects and retraining opportunities, and making it easier for former members of the armed forces to stay in touch with friends and relatives.
"HM Armed Forces are rightly valued throughout their service. They make sacrifices and put themselves in danger to serve and protect our country. It is only right that we continue to show how much we value their efforts – and the support given them by their families – once they leave the armed forces too."
Those eligible for a Veterans Railcard will have served for at least one day or more in the Armed Forces or Merchant Mariners and have seen duty on legally defined military operations.
The one-year version of the card will initially cost £21, with the three-year card costing £61, which is fixed until March 31.
National hero Captain Sir Tom Moore - who raised over £30 million for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden during lockdown – became the first veteran to receive one of the railcards.
He said: "It is a rare opportunity to show thanks and gratitude to veterans and this railcard is a necessary recognition and investment in veterans, giving them the ability to re-connect and combat loneliness, something that we promote and support at the Captain Tom Foundation."
Help for Heroes chief executive officer Melanie Waters said: "We are pleased that the government will make good on its promise to introduce a railcard for veterans and extend discounted train travel to former service personnel in England.
"The pandemic is having a lasting impact on veterans and their families both financially and socially, and its introduction will come at a welcome time."