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Armed Forces: Housing

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 8 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to help (a) service personnel and (b) service leavers onto the property ladder. (203982)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) encourages Service personnel to prepare for their return to civilian life during their careers by purchasing their own homes. A Long Service Advance of Pay is available which currently consists of an interest-free loan of up to £8,500. In September 2006, Service personnel were given access to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Key Worker Living programme (KWL). On 28 December, the Government extended the scheme for KWL low cost home ownership schemes for qualifying Service personnel across all English regions. This will continue to give additional routes for Service personnel to enter the housing market.

In addition, we announced in a written statement on 19 March 2008 that we are launching a new initiative on home ownership for Service personnel. This will be a pilot scheme tailored to the particular needs of Service personnel. In the coming months we will work with commercial providers and public bodies to identify the most suitable approach. £20 million has been allocated for this pilot scheme which will be launched during financial year 2009-10 and run for up to four years.

The MOD also has a Joint Service Housing Advice Office that gives regular briefings which are available to all Service personnel. In addition to these, they can provide detailed advice and information on specific aspects related to sourcing accommodation. Service leavers may also be provided with assistance to find housing, although this would not necessarily be related to the property ladder’.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of service accommodation units owned by Annington Homes have been sold since 1997. (203984)

Once surplus properties are handed back to Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL) there is no requirement for the Department to maintain records of their subsequent use or sale.