def070914 - No.69

Session 2006-07, 14 September 2007

Publication of Report


ACCOMMODATION FOR THE ARMED FORCES: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE MUST DO BETTER

“The MoD needs to do more if Servicemen and women are not to be left in sub-standard accommodation for many years to come”, says the House of Commons Defence Committee in a report published today on the work of Defence Estates, the part of the Ministry of Defence responsible for overseeing the management of the MoD’s property, including accommodation for Armed Forces personnel (15th Report of the Defence Committee, Session 2006-07, HC 535).

The report finds that Defence Estates is doing much good work, but highlights some serious concerns:

  • While the MoD has made significant investment in upgrading accommodation for Service personnel, some accommodation is still in an appalling condition, and on current plans it could take decades to bring it all up to the required standard.

  • The new maintenance contracts for Service accommodation are not working well. Repairs are taking too long to be carried out, and there is confusion about where responsibility lies. There is an alarming lack of recognition at senior levels that these problems are more than minor difficulties.

  • Some programmed improvements have been delayed. The MoD must resist the temptation to take from the estates budget to meet shortfalls elsewhere. A failure to invest in maintaining property is a false economy, leading to greater expenditure in the longer-term.

Commenting on the report, Committee Chairman Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP said:

“The work of Defence Estates is vital to Service personnel and their families, and to the effectiveness of our Armed Forces. The organisation is working hard to maintain and improve the estate, but the MoD must give this a higher priority. The £550 million for accommodation announced in July is welcome but there is a risk that in practice estates improvements will lose out to more urgent demands. Service personnel and their families should not have to put up with run-down buildings and a poor service for repairs. Especially at a time when we are asking the Armed Forces to put their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan, they deserve to be decently housed at home.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP (Chairman), Mr David S Borrow MP, Mr David Crausby MP, Linda Gilroy MP, Mr David Hamilton MP, Mr Mike Hancock MP, Mr Dai Havard MP, Mr Adam Holloway MP, Mr Bernard Jenkin MP, Mr Brian Jenkins MP, Mr Kevan Jones MP, Robert Key MP, Willie Rennie MP, John Smith MP

2. News Release: No. 69

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