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Armed Forces: Housing

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether full-time reserve service personnel are accommodated in married quarters at RAF Benson; and what the cost to the public purse has been of accommodating members of the regular Royal Air Force in premises away from RAF Benson in the last 12 months. (325732)

Service family accommodation (SFA) is provided to entitled regular service personnel and full-time reserve service (FTRS) full commitment (FC) reservists. However, there are no FTRS FC personnel occupying SFA at RAF Benson.

FTRS limited commitment (LC) personnel do not have an entitlement to SFA, but are eligible to apply for surplus SFA and pay full market rent for occupancy. There is one FTRS LC occupying surplus SFA at RAF Benson, which was surplus when the officer moved in and attracts a full market rent. Exceptionally, given this officer's key role as a family liaison officer, he has not been required to move.

Substitute service family accommodation (SSFA) is only ever used as a last resort in cases where service accommodation either does not exist, or is not available to entitlement. Families allocated SSFA may be invited to move to SFA should it subsequently become available. Given the associated disruption to families and the potential impact on schooling, personnel and their families are not obliged to move.

There are currently 33 families occupying SSFA in the Benson area. The rental cost to the Ministry of Defence for these families over the last 12 months was around £460,000. A more accurate figure cannot be given as properties are vacated at various times.