VETERANS are being 'sold short' by the Government, according to an ex-serviceman from Barrow.

Chris Altree, who served in the Royal Signals in Afghanistan and the Falklands, said former armed forces personnel are being failed by a social security system that fails to give adequate support when they fall on hard times.

A new study by the Forces in Mind Trust charity said veterans found it difficult to navigate the social security system, with universal credit adding more difficulty.

Mr Altree, Labour's general election candidate, said: “Veterans in Barrow and Furness and across the country are being sold terribly short by this government.

“It goes way beyond party politics, if you have been in an environment like Helmand then you do understand how your fellow soldiers can be affected, often permanently.

"I am particularly angered by the way the ‘fit for work’ interviews have been conducted.”

The report highlighted incidents including how one soldier underwent a fit-for-work test where he was not asked a single question about his post traumatic stress disorder even though that was the main reason he was on benefits.

The soldier said: “They were asking me about how far I could walk and could I move my arms and legs, and pretty much that was it.

"There was nothing at all about mental health.”

The research conducted 120 in-depth interviews with 68 veterans claiming social security benefits and their families, in two phases between 2017 and 2019.

The sample ranged in age from 18 to 65 and the majority had served in the army. Most were men, and most had mental or physical disabilities.

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman aid: “This research recognises that the majority of people are able to make a successful transition to life outside the armed forces, with 82 per cent of veterans employed within six months after leaving.

“We deeply value the service of our armed forces and we are pleased the report takes into account the series of adjustments made to Jobcentre Plus and other DWP services to better support current and ex-personnel and their families.

“Working with MoD Career Transition Partnership and providers giving specialist support, such as the Royal British Legion, is just part of this.”