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Armed Forces: Housing

Volume 495: debated on Monday 29 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many overseas (a) service family and (b) single living accommodation units were in each condition grade in each year since 2001. (266945)

The requested information will take time to collate and verify. I will write to the hon. Member with the information that is available and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Kevan Jones to Liam Fox:

In my answer of 30 March 2009, Official Report, column 886W I undertook to write to you with the numbers of overseas Single Living Accommodation (SLA) and Service Family Accommodation (SFA) units in each condition grade in each year since 2001.

The following numbers of overseas SFA properties, assessed for their Standard for Condition (SfC), were at each Standard in each year since 2003 (earlier figures are not available):

As at 1 April each year

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2006

S1fC

361

331

618

181

395

462

S2fC

881

479

519

589

408

446

S3fC

754

690

744

237

283

274

S4fC

1,833

1,779

921

1,848

1,687

1,619

Total

3,829

3,279

2,802

2,855

2,773

2,801

‘Condition Grade' data for SLA - an assessment of its physical condition and ‘scale' (as defined in Joint Service Publication 315) - has only been available since 2007. In 2007 and 2008, overseas SLA was at the following grade:

June 2007

June 2008

Grade 1

2,796

2,707

Grade 2

1,594

1,818

Grade 3

4,848

5,503

Grade 4

17,990

12,375

Total

27,228

22,403

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 January 2009, Official Report, columns 1015-6W, on modern housing solutions: complaints, how many of the complaints made to Modern Housing Solutions originated in each region. (271256)

The requested information will take a little time to collate and verify. I will write to the hon. Member.

Substantive answer from Kevan Jones to Nick Harvey:

In my answer of 28 April 2009, (Official Report, column 1150W), I promised to provide you with further information on the complaints received by Modern Housing Solutions (MHS) between May 2007 and May 2008 that originated in each region of England and Wales.

Unfortunately, due to age of the data and changes in the way complaints are recorded it has not been possible to provide the requested details for 2007. However, the number of complaints in 2008, broken down by month and Ministry of Defence housing region is provided in the table below.

In addition, I have included a table of number of missed appointments each month where MHS has voluntarily paid compensation to occupants in the form of a £20 gift voucher. Unfortunately, it is not possible to break the numbers down geographically.

Month

Housing region

Number of complaints

January 2008

East

39

London

120

North

37

South East

116

South West

105

West

33

Total for month

450

February 2008

East

44

London

114

North

41

South East

101

South West

101

West

25

Total for month

426

March 2008

East

37

London

98

North

30

South East

108

South West

91

West

18

Total for month

382

April 2008

East

63

London

121

North

29

South East

102

South West

88

West

25

Total for month

428

May 2008

East

49

London

113

North

29

South East

106

South West

85

West

15

Total for month

397

Missed appointments

January 2008

208

February 2008

186

March 2008

180

April 2008

303

May 2008

225

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what percentage of units of (a) single living accommodation and (b) service family accommodation at each location in England there are at each grade. (274983)

The table provided as follows shows, as of December 2008, the number and percentage of single living accommodation (SLA) broken down by grade. Grade is an assessment of the size, amenities and condition of the SLA.

Grade 1Grade 2Grade 3Grade 4

Region

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

Grand total

East Midlands

1,488

25

809

14

265

4

3,464

57

6,026

East of England

3,989

32

2,680

22

2,337

19

3,289

27

12,295

London

129

3

1,147

29

654

16

2,066

52

3,996

North East

417

16

159

6

1,423

55

611

23

2,610

North West

101

8

417

32

737

56

57

4

1,312

South East

7,221

19

4,813

12

4,239

11

22,382

58

38,655

South West

8,764

30

3,164

11

4,230

14

13,449

45

29,607

West Midlands

1,236

19

1,129

18

1,907

29

2,216

34

6,488

Yorkshire and the Humber

3,589

31

742

7

2,240

19

5,040

43

11,611

Wales

427

15

489

17

76

3

1,805

65

2,797

Scotland

2,443

33

1,527

21

2,096

28

1,335

18

7,401

Northern Ireland

1,445

36

971

24

900

22

717

18

4,033

Grand total

31,249

25

18,047

14

21,104

17

56,431

44

126,831

Further details on this breakdown are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

It is not possible to provide a breakdown of service family accommodation as the information is not held in the form requested and will take more time to collate and verify. I will therefore write to the hon. Member with the requested information.

Substantive answer from Kevan Jones to Liam Fox:

In my answer of 14 May 2009 (Official Report: Column 938W) I promised to provide you with the number of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) by location in England, at each Standard for Condition (SfC).

The following table is the best available breakdown of SFA by location, in this case the Department's housing regions, and is correct as at 25 March 2009. This updates information given in my answer to you published on 30 March Col 884W and my Written Ministerial Statement of 17 March and reflects further verification and analysis work including that carried out with the National Audit Office.

Housing regionS1fCS2fCS3fCS4fCNot assessedTotal

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

No.

No.

East

1,930

40.55

2,599

54.61

213

4.47

17

0.36

1,618

6,377

London

1,179

20.65

3,613

63.31

800

14.02

115

2.01

1,728

7,435

North

2,092

52.55

1,750

43.96

112

2.81

27

0.68

1,400

5,381

South East

2,797

35.47

4,631

58.73

345

4.37

112

1.42

1,737

9,622

South West

2,255

27.04

5,664

67.92

344

4.13

76

0.91

1,953

10,292

West (inc Wales)

1,338

45.34

1,518

51.44

89

3.02

6

0.20

910

3,861

PFI Properties/Hirings

2,005

2,005

Total

11,591

34.47

19,775

58.82

1,903

5.66

353

1.05

11,351

44,973

Data for the condition of Service Families Accommodation will be updated on a quarterly basis beginning from July 2009, and the information will be placed in the library of the house.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent steps his Department has taken to improve accommodation for service families; (282461)

(2) what recent steps his Department has taken to improve accommodation for service personnel.

This Department is committed to improving the standard of all service accommodation and in addition to the significant increase in investment in recent years. We plan to spend £8.4 billion over the next decade on accommodation, of which £3.1 billion will be on new-build and upgraded accommodation. As announced in the budget, £50 million is being brought forward to be spent on improving service accommodation.

Since 2003, over 35,000 new or upgraded single living accommodation bed-spaces have been delivered, with a further 21,000 planned by 2013.

Since 2001, over 13,000 service family accommodation properties have been upgraded to the top standard for condition with a further 800 planned in this and each financial year thereafter.

In addition, thousands of SFA properties have benefited from improvements such as new boilers, bathrooms and kitchens, which have improved the living conditions for many service families.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 1 June 2009, Official Report, columns 35-6W, on armed forces: housing, what discussions he has had with Modern Housing Solutions on the figures for numbers of married quarters by standard for condition in the Faithful and Gould survey carried out by Modern Housing Solutions. (282754)

The asset condition survey of Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in England and Wales was carried out in order to provide improved management information for reporting on the condition of the SFA estate, and to enable the Department to make improved planning decisions for future investment in the SFA estate.

Although the results of this survey do not impact directly on the terms and conditions of the Housing Prime Contract with Modern Housing Solutions (MHS), officials have worked closely with MHS to ensure the accuracy and validity of the survey results.

We continue to work closely with MHS, and its counterparts, to ensure that the standards of SFA continue to improve. Over 90 per cent. of our stock in England and Wales is already at the two highest standards for condition. Service families are no longer required to live in SFA at the lowest Standard for Condition, although some may chose to do so. From 2012 no families will have to live in properties at either of the two lowest Standards for Condition.

We are committed to housing service personnel and their families in high quality accommodation.