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Armed Forces: Housing

Volume 498: debated on Monday 26 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many properties have been leased by Defence Estates to meet otherwise unfulfilled needs using funds within its own resources in each year since its formation; and if he will make a statement. (295198)

I assume the hon. Member is referring to service accommodation.

Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA) and Substitute Service Single Accommodation (SSSA) is used to meet our obligation to house entitled service personnel and their families in cases where no service accommodation is available.

With regards to SSFA, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my predecessor on 3 December 2007, Official Report, column 823W. Updated figures are provided in the table.

Number of properties taken on during year

Total number of properties rented during year

2007 (updated to 31 December 2007)

636

1,919

2008

966

2,173

2009 (to 22 October 2009)

659

2,155

SSSA is commonly granted where service personnel are working at MOD sites where little or no Single Living Accommodation is available. Wherever possible DE uses vacant SFA to meet demands for SLA. SSSA properties may be used to accommodate more than one single serviceman. Figures for SSSA from 2003 are provided in the table.

Number of properties taken on during year

Total number of properties rented during year

2003

1,747

4,405

2004

1,794

5,002

2005

1,793

5,243

2006

2,001

5,668

2007

2,147

6,121

2008

2,271

6,658

2009 (to 22 October 2009)

2,021

6,768

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and what proportion of properties of Defence Estates’ stock have been classified as (a) Condition 3 and (b) Condition 4 in each year since the formation of Defence Estates; and if he will make a statement. (295199)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 1 June 2009, Official Report, column 36W.

For the latest number of Service Family Accommodation in England and Wales at Standard 3 and 4, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 20 July 2009, Official Report, column 873W, to the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to improve the maintenance and repair of service accommodation. (295589)

Defence Estates works closely with all of its repair and maintenance contractors to ensure that levels of service continually improves and that repair jobs are completed within required timescales and to an acceptable standard of workmanship.

As an example, in England and Wales, to improve the maintenance and repair of service accommodation, personal digital assistants (PDA) will be introduced to allow better access to information about the property, including details of previous jobs. Among other benefits, this should ensure the right trade goes to the right job. We also aim to ensure better management of the supply chain to ensure there is a focus on getting repairs right first time.

All SFA locations are to be assigned to a specified DE Housing Officer and MHS Technical Officer who will work closely to provide a cohesive approach to enhanced service delivery. They will act as dedicated focal points for local commanders and will be responsible for holding housing clinics, getting to know families and resolving everyday problems.