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
Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, Tel 020 7219 1589/ 07917 488488, email - email@example.com
Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 5745, email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/defcom
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv
Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk