Respect for members of the armed forces should be helped by the signing of a historic covenant of mutual support, councillors have said.
Army, Royal Navy, RAF and other representatives attended a special ceremony at Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) for the signing of the document, which encourages support for the armed forces community working and living in Bucks.
Bucks County Council chairman Marion Clayton and AVDC Liberal Democrat leader Steven Lambert, who introduced the motion for the covenant, both said it would help armed forces get the recognition they deserve, while also condemning incidents such as a recent report of soldiers being refused a cup of tea because they were in uniform.
Councillor Clayton said it was important for armed forces and civilian community to work together for the benefit of all.
She said: “There’s always been a strong recognition of service members. What this does is strengthen the opportunities for supporting members who live very stressful lives.
“When you think they devote their lives to this country, they deserve all the respect we can possibly give them.
“I hope the covenant will help people respect them more. These people deserve our respect and our gratitude.
“It should not be necessary, but if there are pockets of resistance, just to know all these organisations have signed up should send that message out loud and clear.”
In addition to the armed forces, the organisations that signed up include Bucks County Council, district councils, NHS Bucks and Oxfordshire, police, fire, and other community groups.
Bucks’ armed forces ‘family’ comprises 2,500 RAF, 60 Royal Navy and 250 Army personnel, 880 civil servants, 1,500 partners and spouses of serving personnel, 1,400 cadets, and 100 volunteer leaders, along with reserves and veterans.
Councillor Lambert said he thinks the covenant will be an ‘amazing’ benefit for the armed forces community, but said it was ‘ironic’ the signing came on the same day the national Government announced major cuts to the Army.
He said: “I think it was a poor show by the Government to do that.
“Philip Hammond has struck again. First he was going to drive a train through Bucks and now he’s giving residents their redundancy notices.
“But I am delighted my motion got signed and I was pleased to be there.
“These people put their lives on the line for us and that has to be respected.”
The Bucks covenant complements the national armed forces covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the nation, the Government and the armed forces.