HC Deb 17 June 2002 vol 387 cc33-4W
19. David Hamilton

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many houses have been sold by the armed forces in(a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Midlothian in (i) 1980, (ii) 1990 and (iii) 2002. [58689]

Dr. Moonie

I regret that information for 1980 is not readily available.

Based on available records, the figures for 1990 show that more than 814 properties were sold in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 109 in Scotland. I should point out that the information for 1990 is, however, incomplete given the lapse of time and significant organisational changes.

To date this year, 1,884 properties in England and Wales have been handed back to Annington Homes Ltd., with an additional 47 being sold by Defence Estates. A further 114 houses have been sold in Scotland in the same period. No houses have been sold in Northern Ireland this year.

No houses in Midlothian were sold in either 1990 or to date this year.

21. Mr. Hopkins

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken to improve response times for maintenance to service personnel housing. [58691]

Dr. Moonie

The Defence Housing Executive (DHE) is constantly looking for ways to further improve its repairs service. Current response requirements for unplanned maintenance are: within 24 hours for emergencies, within five working days for urgent repairs and within two months for routine repairs. DHE achieved 99 per cent. of routine repairs within the required timescale against a target of 95 per cent. On urgent repairs, 87 per cent. were achieved on time against a target of 90 per cent. Against a target of 95 per cent. for emergency repairs, the achievement was 93 per cent.

The DHE is trialling a call centre in the north-east which allows the occupants of service families' housing to notify their requirement for response repairs directly. An appointment is then made with the occupant for the contractor to call and effect the repair. The contractor is incentivised to meet response repair targets and to reach a higher level of customer satisfaction. Failure to achieve the targets set by DHE will mean that fees will be withheld. The results of the trial will be used to inform the planned move to a prime contract for housing maintenance and works services, which is in line with a wider Government initiative.