There's no such thing as a free lunch, or in this case a free train or bus ride.
Veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon be able to travel free on rail and road public transport. The plan is part of a package being drawn up by the government to help retired military personnel settle back into Civvy Street.
Up to 70,000 ex-soldiers who served on the front line since 1990 will get free travel for at least 5 years. Other perks cover housing, education and mental health.
There will be:
Help to buy homes
Grants for university tuition fees
Opportunities to retrain as teachers
Extra help for families of serving soldiers
Free university scholarships for children of soldiers killed in action.
David Cameron is expected to announce the Veterans Package in October as part of the Strategic Defence Review. Many men and women who have been invalided out of the armed forces are already entitled to free transport.
The catch? In return for this former soldiers will be expected to stay longer on the Service Register - the list of personnel who can be recalled for service.
Quite a cunning political move. The MoD increases the size of the Service Register and will possibly decrease the numbers of those currently serving. The perks will last only up to 5 years; any longer and the personnel would require full retraining. The only problem I have is with the 'perks' not associated with free travel. Shouldn't we be providing these already?