Skip to main content

Departmental Housing

Volume 506: debated on Friday 5 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on (a) permanent and (b) temporary accommodation for civil servants in each of the last 12 months. (314198)

I will write to the hon. Member when I have obtained the information, and will place a copy in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Kevan Jones to Willie Rennie:

In my answer of 22 February (Official Report, column 19W) I undertook to write to you with details on permanent and temporary accommodation for civil servants in each of the last 12 months.

Civil servants transferring within the Department in the UK may stay in temporary accommodation when they are sent on a long-term temporary basis to a different work location outside of reasonable daily travel of their home. They may also stay in temporary accommodation for a short period prior to occupying their permanent home following a transfer in the UK to a location which gives help with relocation expenses. The number of employees staying in temporary accommodation following a permanent or temporary transfer constantly fluctuates as employees enter or leave the accommodation. To obtain the numbers for each month would involve disproportionate cost, but on average, there are 250+ employees staying in temporary accommodation at any one time. This may be in private rented accommodation, service messes or staying with family or friends in the new area. Costs for each of the last 12 months are as follows:

2009 temporary accommodation

Month

Amount (£)

January

123,447

February

106,178

March

129,840

April

122,364

May

95,590

June

106,730

July

108,687

August

99,980

September

102,421

October

104,422

November

98,532

December

110,122

The responsibility for permanent accommodation costs at the normal place of work is a personal one. However, civil servants who are transferred on permanent terms to a new location where they may receive help with relocation costs may be eligible to receive assistance with Additional Housing Costs Allowance (AHCA). This payment provides a measure of help with additional housing costs for the new permanent home following a move to a more expensive location. It is payable for nine years (inclusive of a taper in the last four years). There are currently 1300 employees in receipt of AHCA at some point in the nine year cycle. Payments to civil servants in each of the last 12 months are as follows:

2009 AHCA

Month

Amount (£)

January

429,135

February

421,516

March

435,458

April

322,936

May

318,271

June

325,308

July

338,113

August

323,388

September

320,108

October

338,412

November

336,157

December

327,434

Similar information from overseas areas could only be provided at disproportionate cost.