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Armed Forces: Housing

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 14 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what percentage of his Department’s housing stock is void or uninhabited; (310250)

(2) how many void (a) single living and (b) service family accommodation units his Department has in (i) the UK and (ii) overseas.

[holding answer 11 January 2010]: The latest number of void Service Family Accommodation (SFA) properties in the UK and overseas are:

Location

UK (as at 4 January 2010)

Overseas (as at December 2009)

Total number of SFA

49,828

15,392

Number of void

7,889

2.461

As a percentage

15.8

16

Properties are void for various reasons, such as that they are awaiting routine moves of service personnel, improvement or modernisation work, demolition or disposal. While the Department is working hard to reduce the number of voids, there will always be a need for a management margin of properties to ensure they are available for service families.

In 2008, the proportion of void SFA worldwide reached 21 per cent. Although extremely challenging, the MOD is driving hard to reduce the percentage of voids to the target management margin of 10 per cent. by 2012.

Void Single Living Accommodation is defined as those bed-spaces which are available but not currently required for occupation by single service personnel. The most recent figures we have (December 2008) indicate that of the available 145,000 bed-spaces worldwide, some 18,000 (12 per cent.) were void. Of these some 13,000 (9 per cent.) were in the UK and 5,000 (3 per cent.) overseas.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on (a) building and (b) upkeep of armed forces’ housing in each service in each year since 1996. (310254)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 11 October 2007, Official Report, column 695W. The majority of the building of new Service Family Accommodation (SFA) since 1996 has been through Private Finance Initiatives. This has seen 1,391 new houses built by the Private Sector in Great Britain (GB) since 1998. The estimated capital value of these houses was some £212 million. Annual payments are being made to the contractors over the life of the contracts ranging from 20 to 30 years.

In addition, the Department has directly invested in both the new build and major refurbishment of SFA. Due to the changed contractual arrangements and transfer of responsibility between various parts of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), expenditure in GB can be provided only on a consistent basis back to 2001-02.

£ million

Capital expenditure

Maintenance and upgrade

2001-02

25.3

123.0

2002-03

25.5

92.0

2003-04

25.2

103.0

2004-05

12.1

91.6

2005-06

28.0

109.2

2006-07

3.9

134.9

2007-08

1.9

157.3

2008-09

1.1

148.9

Expenditure elsewhere in the world has been through a large number of contractual arrangements managed throughout the MOD and the information could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

The housing stock is not managed on a single service basis.