MEMBERS of the armed forces are to be offered huge discounts at council-run leisure centres in Worcester, it has emerged.

And any veteran who applies for a job at the city council will also be guaranteed an interview as part of an olive branch to those out of work.

The measures, revealed by new leader Councillor Adrian Gregson, come after the Government announced major redundancies among army personnel.

The authority wants all serving staff to get major discounts at St John’s Sports Centre, Nunnery Wood Sports Complex, Perdiswell Leisure Centre and Worcester Swimming Pool at Sansome Walk.

Talks are currently ongoing about how much the discount will be at the quartet of sites, and exactly when it will kick in.

Councillor Joy Squires, Worcester’s Labour parliamentary candidate, said: “Society expects members of the armed forces to be in tip top physical condition.

“I am very proud that our city council is signing up to a scheme that recognises we can help them achieve this.”

She added: “In the past two weeks alone, 5,000 serving personnel have been made redundant.

“Too often, an armed forces background is dismissed as unsuitable by employers.”

Under the jobs scheme, known as the Veteran Interview Programme (VIP), all former armed forces staff will be entitled to at least one interview for any vacant position.

It has been welcomed by veterans in Worcestershire, who say life can be tough once leaving the army. John McClay, aged 44, from Evesham, served nine years with the Irish Guards and six with the Royal Military Police.

He remains a reserve army officer, meaning he is on call at all times for a possible recall to active duty.

“It sounds like a good thing to me.

“If you come out of the forces it can be quite difficult to find another job, it’s certainly not easy,” he said.

The city council says more details on the timescale and strength of the discounts will emerge over the coming weeks.