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Service Accommodation

Volume 520: debated on Monday 13 December 2010

The Government place a high priority on the welfare of service personnel and their families and will therefore seek to improve accommodation where necessary. More than 95% of service family accommodation properties in the UK are currently at the top two standards, out of four, for condition.

The Minister will be aware that as a result of the sale of the Chelsea barracks in 2007, £959 million was raised. Can he confirm that that money will be ring-fenced for service accommodation and that any future investment during the comprehensive spending review period will be new, rather than previously allocated, investment?

There was a story in the News of the World which was not entirely correct. [Interruption.] It was not entirely correct. A great deal of money was raised from the sale of Chelsea barracks but that was some four years ago when I do not recall our being in power. Having checked on this we have discovered that although the money is not ring-fenced, because we do not believe it should be, we have spent the vast majority of it and we will spend well in excess of that amount. As a matter of interest, on Thursday I was fortuitously at Bulford, where I started the work on a new married quarters estate that will provide 260 state-of-the-art houses for our deserving personnel.