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Housing (Veterans)

Volume 539: debated on Monday 30 January 2012

I am determined to help current and former members of the armed forces gain the housing they deserve. Among the several measures I am taking, I have given service personnel priority for the Government’s affordable home ownership schemes, including Firstbuy, and I am consulting on proposals to change the law to make it easier for service personnel to access social housing.

I welcome the Minister’s reply. Will he join me in congratulating UK Homes 4 Heroes, which supports homeless ex-service personnel? In order to see the great work that that charity is doing for our brave ex-servicemen and women, will he consider visiting a base for the charity’s outreach programme that is opening in my constituency in March?

I congratulate UK Homes 4 Heroes, which does a tremendous job. I know that 16 very dedicated people work with that charity. I also congratulate all the other charities across the country that do such great work for homeless and returning personnel. Last year I held a housing summit as part of the military covenant to try to ensure that we do everything possible to ensure that housing for people who return from having fought for this country is a No. 1 priority.

Does the Minister agree that it is vital to consult all organisations that represent ex-service personnel when framing housing policy that affects them?

Yes; my hon. Friend is absolutely right. I mentioned the housing summit a moment ago, and I invited a range of service organisations to represent those personnel. It is important to get their ideas. I have also recently written to two service organisations to invite further contributions and all ideas are welcome, so I extend that invitation across the House.