§ Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Service houses, flats or other dwellings there are; how many of these are empty at the present or recent date; for how long on average they have been empty; and if he will make a statement on the situation and on his intentions to make them available to households other than those of employees of the Ministry of Defence.
§ Dr. Gilbert
As at the latest date for which figures are available, there were about 102,000 Service married quarters and civilian staff houses in the United Kingdom, of which 14,000 were vacant. Details are not available as to the average length of time that all these quarters have been vacant, but about 3,000 of them have been vacant for more than six months for other than normal management reasons.
As I explained in the debate on the Armed Forces' conditions of service—[Vol. 933, c. 665–8]—about 4,000 married quarters have been released for sale since 1974. We are continuing to try to dispose of all properties identified as surplus to our long-term requirements as quickly as possible.
§ Dr. Gilbert
The latest available figures show some 600 quarters vacant in the area of the North Wiltshire District Council. The majority of these are at Colerne, where they are being held for an Army unit, which it has been announced will take up occupation in 1978.