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David Yates

David Yates is crowdfunding

150%
£750
raised of £500 target by 15 supporters

Weʼre raising £500 to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation, Macmillan and my wife (my carer).

Isle of Wight

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Story

My Falklands War, First Gulf War, other medals and a signed first edition copy of Bomb Alley are being auctioned by Dix Noonan Webb of Mayfair on Wednesday 13 October – lot number 278. I am also seeking to raise money through an online Just Giving Crowdfunding campaign. The reason for the sale is because of the lack of support that I have received as a self-employed, clinically extremely vulnerable heart disease and prostate cancer patient during the pandemic.

Self-Employment Income Support (SEIS) - for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable War Veterans - During Covid-19

Clinically extremely vulnerable self-employed military war veterans like myself were ineligible to receive SEIS, due to the fact that we were in receipt of an armed forces pension – which was marginally higher than our income for the specified three-year period. Had I not been ineligible, I calculate that I would have been able to receive about £750 per month in SEIS since the start of the pandemic. I lodged an official HMRC appeal against this decision, but it was rejected. I then lodged appeals through the Armed Forces Covenant and our Isle of Wight MP (ex Army), but they also met with a solid wall of Treasury resistance. It appears that HMRC were unable to grant any exemptions and only the government could do so. I understand that certain retired policemen, fire service and NHS workers and other ‘hazardous-duty’ civil servants may have also been ineligible for SEIS because of this inflexibility and lack of appreciation for our service to the nation .

I served in the Royal Navy from 1976 to 2000, and fought in the Falklands War and First Gulf War. I eventually left the service as a direct result of fighting in those conflicts, and I also receive a small war disablement pension. An armed forces pension is nowhere near enough to live on. If it were, I would have fully retired when I left the Royal Navy as a Warrant Officer in 2000. One would have thought that the Armed Forces Covenant is meant to protect the interests of all those who served, and to ensure that we are not discriminated against in any way, to: “ensure that we are treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy, and society that we serve with our lives.” Having listened to the last Queen's Speech, I understand that the covenant will be encased in law during this parliament, so now is the time to raise this matter and ensure that we are not abandoned, forgotten and ignored in future pandemics.

Ordinary civilian pensions are paid for time served only. In addition to those standard terms, armed forces pensions are paid for the 'X factors' of serving the country, fighting in wars, risking our lives and being separated from our families. Receipt of an armed forces pension should not make the recipient ineligible to receive SEIS (or any other benefit) available to our civilian work mates. If a painter and decorator, fitness trainer, builder, graphic designer, joiner, beautician, electrician, hairdresser, gardener etc could receive generous payments, then surely, we who have served our country and fought in wars should have been entitled to the same level of support? I know of many self-employed people on the island who received several thousand pounds of SEIS, whilst at the same time working full-time throughout the various lockdowns. In addition to this, they were also granted IOW Council Discretionary Grants. None of these workers were classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. And yet I was unable to claim a penny of SEIS. Armed forces charities were equally resistant to - or flatly ignored - my appeals, despite the fact that, as a long distance walker, I have helped to raise many thousand pounds for their good causes! I repeatedly tried to contact the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), but telephone and facebook appeals to the IOW and other branches failed to receive any response within the first year. The whole process made me feel like an old be-medalled veteran who had to beg for money in the street! Surely, the Armed Forces Covenant, the government and various armed forces charities and support groups are meant to help us avoid that? During a pandemic, the government’s overriding aim should surely be to protect the vulnerable members of society, and vulnerable veterans such as myself should have been exempted from general rules for the rest of the population?

In June 2019, I had two coronary stents fitted and was also diagnosed with initial stage prostate cancer. Despite this, I only received a letter from the NHS advising me to shield at home three months after the start of the first lockdown. Due to my ineligibility for SEIS, I was unable to stay at home and had to continue earning what little income I safely could. In November 2020, it was detected that my prostate cancer had grown rapidly and I needed to have it removed. A Radical Prostatectomy was carried out 13 March 2021. I am now recovering from this major surgery and will receive frequent cancer tests for the rest of my life. After the operation, I was unable to work for seven weeks, so I decided to apply for income support – for the first time in my life. However, my application was completely rejected - once more, because I am in receipt of an armed forces pension! Over the seven weeks, I lost virtually all of my self-employed income. MacMillan Cancer Support kindly and quickly awarded me a £350 clothing allowance. Not one single military charity gave me a penny.

I understand that the SEIS anomaly was just an oversight, caused by the speed of introduction of the otherwise largely commendable SEIS scheme, and that it could have been easily rectified by exempting clinically extremely vulnerable armed forces pension-receiving self-employed veterans from this ruling. I estimate that I have missed out on SEIS payments amounting to about £11,000, have had to place my life in unnecessary danger and cause no end of damage to my mental health. IOW Council did finally award me two small business and re-start grants, totalling £3,000, but these are far short of the overall sums that I would have received if I had not been in receipt of an armed forces pension. And it is not as if there are many veterans in the same boat as myself. According to the South Atlantic Medal Association 82, I appear to be their only Falklands War veteran to be affected by this ruling.

As a result of this unthinkable lack of support, I have engaged to sell all of my medals through Dix Noonan and Webb in their auction of Wed 13 October – lot number 278. My aim is to highlight this shocking treatment to the nation - and to champion the cause of other similar clinically extremely vulnerable, self-employed armed forces veterans - and other civil service veterans, such as police officers, fire service and NHS workers etc. I will also be seeking to hold parliament to account and try to make them honour their pledges to the nation, that they will do ‘whatever it takes’ to protect the most vulnerable and those who have served their country in the past, by granting myself and others a suitable sum to acknowledge the financial anomaly that has occurred.

Money raised from the sale of the medals and my Just Giving Crowdfunding campaign will be divided equally between MacMillan Cancer Support, Prostate Cancer UK, the British Heart Foundation and my wife – who has cared for me like nobody else when it mattered.

Yours, truly Abandoned, Forgotten and Ignored

David Yates

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    David Yates started crowdfunding

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    Page last updated on: 11/3/2021 00.35

    Supporters

    15

    • Nathan, Poppy, Pippa & Katie Beck

      Nathan, Poppy, Pippa & Katie Beck

      Nov 3, 2021

      In loving memory of your former shipmate during the Falklands War, Bruce Kelvin Beck. Thank you for the gift of your book and inviting us into your home.

      £200.00

    • Martha

      Martha

      Oct 20, 2021

      A contribution 'to the cause' xx

      £50.00

    • Andy & Toni

      Andy & Toni

      Oct 20, 2021

      Well done David and look forward to catching up soon.

      £40.00

    • John F.

      John F.

      Oct 18, 2021

      Sometimes you just have to fight for what is right.Members of the Armed Forces should be supported for what they do for all of us.

      £40.00

    • Geoff

      Geoff

      Oct 16, 2021

      Best wishes

      £50.00

    • A.Batt

      A.Batt

      Oct 14, 2021

      All the best to you

    • Ros and Jonathan

      Ros and Jonathan

      Oct 13, 2021

      Not unloved, forgotten, ignored by us!

    David Yates

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    About the fundraiser
    David Yates

    David Yates

    Isle of Wight

    Ex Royal Navy, served in Falklands and First Gulf Wars. Author of Bomb Alley. Being treated for heart disease and prostate cancer, but abandoned, forgotten and ignored during the pandemic.

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