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Armed Forces: Housing

Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether receipts resulting from the return of void married quarters to Annington Homes will be used to improve the quality of the married quarters estate. (166117)

Within the terms of the Annington contract the return of void married quarters to Annington Homes does not generate a receipt for the MOD. Under the terms of the Profit Share Agreement with Annington Homes Limited, however, when MOD hand back surplus married quarters to Annington Homes and subsequently Annington Homes sell the properties, 22 per cent. of the proceeds of the sales of surplus MOD properties is returned to HM Treasury. These monies enter a consolidated general cash account and are not paid directly back from HM Treasury to the MOD.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in what timescale a service personnel family must leave service quarters (a) on the death of a serviceman or woman and (b) in respect of a wounded serviceman or woman who is medically discharged; and what assistance is provided for finding civilian quarters in such circumstances. (167747)

The policy applied in these situations is set out in Tri-Service Accommodation Regulations.

Following the death in service of a serviceman or woman, the bereaved spouse/civil partner and their family have continued entitlement to Service Families Accommodation (SFA) for a reasonable period to assist them in coming to terms with their bereavement and to enable them to determine their longer term housing requirements. A period of two years is offered. Retention of SFA may be extended beyond the two year period at the discretion of the local service commander in consultation with welfare, medical, and educational authorities and with Defence Estates Operations—Housing. The objective of the policy is to help the bereaved spouse/civil partner in their transition back into the civilian community. At no time will a bereaved spouse/civil partner and their families need to leave a property until they have secured suitable alternative accommodation.

Once a decision has been taken to medically discharge an individual from the service, the Defence Medical Services health team who have been caring for that individual will liaise with appropriate civilian healthcare providers (e.g. General Practitioner, primary care trust, civilian mental health team, or NHS Hospital Trust) to ensure the transfer of care and patient history takes place. In addition, specialist health social workers will manage the individual’s wider resettlement issues, liaising with relevant civil agencies such as local housing authorities, financial authorities, service welfare and charitable organisations. The objective is again to ensure that the individual’s transfer into the civilian environment is as smooth and as seamless as possible.

For personnel compulsorily discharged on medical grounds, 93 days continued use and occupancy of the SFA is permitted after the date of discharge. Thereafter, extensions of up to 93 days at a time may be granted on compassionate grounds at the discretion of Defence Estates Operations—Housing, in consultation with the appropriate local service commander. No personnel discharged will need to leave SFA until an appropriate alternative accommodation has been secured.

The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) is available to all service personnel and their families, offering advice and guidance in sourcing social and private accommodation.