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Armed Forces: Housing

Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the target number of (a) single living accommodation and (b) service family accommodation in the UK to be upgraded to each standard of condition grade in 2007-08 was; and how many of each were upgraded to each standard of condition category in that year. (199471)

The Department only has targets to upgrade Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and Single Living Accommodation (SLA) to the highest standard.

Against a target of a minimum of 600 SFA properties, a total of 637 were upgraded to the top standard in Financial Year 2007-08.

Against a target of 7,650 in 2007-08, we have delivered some 6,816 SLA bed-spaces to the top standard. However, since 2003-04, the Department has upgraded some 26,707 bed-spaces against a target of some 25,705.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to assist armed services personnel to meet housing costs; and if he will make a statement. (223182)

[holding answer 10 September 2008]: It is a condition of service that Regular Service personnel are provided with accommodation. The charges for this accommodation are set by the independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body, with a discount that reflects the disadvantages of living in such accommodation e.g. lack of choice and lack of security of tenure on leaving the armed forces. These charges are deliberately set lower than those readily available in the private sector.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) encourages service personnel to prepare for their return to civilian life during their careers by purchasing their own homes. To help in this area, a Long Service Advance of Pay (LSAP) is available which currently consists of an interest-free loan of up to £8,500.

In July 2008 MOD published ‘The Nation’s Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans’ (Command Paper Cm 7424). Paragraph 2.13 in particular explains more about the Prime Minister’s announcement on 19 March 2008 about plans to launch a new initiative on home ownership for service personnel, which will be a pilot scheme tailored to their particular needs.