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Signing the Corporate Covenant

Michael Fallon

Defence Secretary

26 Apr 2015

In the run-up to Remembrance Sunday, I had the privilege of joining Robin Terrell at your Kensington Superstore as Tesco became the latest British business to sign the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant.

In the run-up to Remembrance Sunday, I had the privilege of joining Robin Terrell at your Kensington Superstore as Tesco became the latest British business to sign the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant.

The occasion held particular significance as not only are Tesco the first UK supermarket to sign up to the Covenant, they are also the largest employer to date. We obviously welcome very much the benefits which veterans and service personnel will derive from this demonstration of Tesco’s strong backing for all that they do.

I was intrigued to hear from Robin that, by taking this step, Tesco are coming full circle on a hundred years of history. In 1919, Jack Cohen set up his first market stall with the “demob money” he received after the First World War. So it is fitting that, in this year of all years – the centenary of the Great War – Tesco has committed to using its resources to help veterans of current conflicts.

Michael Fallon shaking hands with a veteran

"As Defence Secretary, I want all British businesses to reflect on the hugely varied and demanding work which our armed forces undertake"

As Defence Secretary, I want all British businesses to reflect on the hugely varied and demanding work which our armed forces undertake, and to thank them for the contribution which they make to our country. I passionately believe it is right that we all take steps to recommit to the care and consideration of our troops.

Looking specifically at Tesco’s backing, Robin spoke of three particular ways in which he hoped that the company’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant would make a difference.

The first was the benefits which Armed Forces families will enjoy – job opportunities for veterans, support to the Royal British Legion and helping spouses and partners of serving personnel to find jobs at Tesco stores in areas with large Armed Forces Communities.

The second focus was Tesco’s Reservists campaign. As a major employer of Reservists already, not only would Tesco champion the importance of the Reserve Forces to Tesco colleagues, you would also help us to meet our target of increasing the Army Reserve to 30,000 trained soldiers by 2015. There are all sorts of different and interesting jobs in the Reserve forces, from combat roles to logistics. Search for “join the reserves” online to find out more.

Finally, Tesco wants to send a signal to the whole country of their support for the Armed Forces, and in particular to encourage other businesses to follow suit. I warmly endorse that sentiment.

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