HC Deb 26 January 1987 vol 109 cc126-7W
Mr. Cartwright

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any plans for improving the management of the homes owned by Her Majesty's Government for the use of service men.

Mr. Freeman

The management of service housing is a complex matter and the Ministry of Defence is always looking for improvements in performance. The turnover of occupants is very high and requirements for houses are affected by changes in the roles and locations of establishments to meet the ever evolving needs of defence.

Management of the housing stock is undertaken by the single services, in line with the way that defence as a whole is managed; there are no proposals to change this position. However, policy issues are resolved centrally and progress and performance are monitored similarly and targets set accordingly.

A recent tri-service study on accommodation, which took advice from the private sector, made a number of useful recommendations which are being followed up, but no fundamental changes were proposed.

Mr. Cartwright

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (i) how many homes for the use of service men Her Majesty's Government own in the United Kingdom, (ii) how many of these homes are currently vacant and (iii) what proportion of the homes for the use of service men they own have been vacant on 1 December in each of the last five years.

Mr. Freeman

The stock of houses owned by the Ministry of Defence for use by service men in the United Kingdom as at 30 November 1986 totalled 82,062, of which 14,994 were vacant.

The proportion of houses vacant as at the dates shown below (see note) during the previous five years, were:

Year Number Percentage
15 January 1982 13,600 15.6
15 January 1983 14,152 16.4
15 January 1984 14,316 16.7
15 January 1985 14,249 16.8
30 November 1985 14,012 16.7

Note: Up to July 1985, statistics were gathered based on the positions as at 15 January and 15 July; they are now collected using base dates 31 March, 31 July and 30 November.

Since 15 January 1982 the stock level has fallen by 5,188 and further disposals are programmed over the next three years. However, these reductions have not been reflected in the vacancy levels, largely because more and more service men have been choosing to become home owners.

Mr. Cartwright

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether Her Majesty's Government have any plans to make available to local authorities, on a short-term basis, any of the homes which they own, for the use of service men, which are currently vacant.

Mr. Freeman

Where circumstances permit, it is Ministry of Defence policy to offer houses which are likely to be vacant for periods of at least six months to local authorities on the condition that the authority undertakes to return the properties with vacant possession at the end of the term of letting.

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