asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the great disappointment of married officers and other ranks serving in the Canal Zone at the continued shortage of married quarters and the apparent lack of effort to remedy the situation; and by what date it is planned to provide sufficient married quarters in this area.
I am well aware of the disappointment of married officers and other ranks serving in the Canal Zone at the continued shortage of married quarters and every effort is being made to improve the situation. Unfortunately however, the Army is faced with an enormous programme of building of all kinds, and the available resources have to be apportioned between commands and between the different kinds of buildings needed, including accommodation for unmarried soldiers as well as married quarters.
Can the Secretary of State give any indication at all when there will be an improvement in what is a most disgraceful situation? Will he consider going out to the Middle East himself to see the appalling circumstances in which officers and other ranks have to live?
I know that the conditions are most unsatisfactory. They have been so for a long time. They are being improved, though not so rapidly as I should like.
As one who knew this district at one time only too well, may I ask the Secretary of State if he will look into this matter again? General considerations really do not apply here, because there is cheap accommodation. One of the things that militates against recruiting is the lack of married quarters.
I cannot say about recruiting. I have other opinions about it. The facts are all against the noble Lord. I can assure hon. Members in all quarters of the House that this matter engages my attention at all hours of the day. My staff are trying to improve the position.
Is the domestic building programme of the Army in the Canal zone concentrated upon Fayed?
Fayed is naturally included, being headquarters, but I would not say offhand that it is entirely confined to it.