HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc323-4W
Mr. Keetch

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces(a) own their own home and (b) cite a wish to own their own home as a reason for leaving the forces; and if he will make a statement. [82473]

Dr. Moonie

Continuous Attitude Surveys (CAS) are undertaken to ascertain the attitudes of personnel towards a range of service conditions and the results used to inform personnel policies, by identifying those aspects of service life which are causes of both satisfaction and dissatisfaction to personnel. The last Naval Service CAS was in September 2002. Surveys were sent to 2000 individuals and 957 (48 per cent.) responded. Respondents represented 2.5 per cent. of the trained strength (excluding FTRS personnel). The latest Army CAS was sent out in March/April 2002. The surveys were sent to 3,978 individuals and 1,897 responded in time for the analysis work. Respondents represented 1.9 per cent. of the trained strength (excluding FTRS and Gurkhas). The latest RAF report was published in March 2002 and covered surveys sent out in May and August 2001. Surveys were sent out to 4,000 individuals and 2,400 responded.

The numbers of those who responded to the CAS that own their own home or cite the wish to own their own home as a reason for leaving each service are as follows:


The RN has for many years encouraged homeownership through its policy of freedom of choice over mobility and stability. The Long Service Advance of Pay (LSAP) is an £8,500 low interest rate loan available to all RN/RM personnel over 23-years-old with more than 10 years to serve and is designed to assist in house purchase. This is very popular and the latest Service Continuous Attitude Survey (SCAS) records 82 per cent. married personnel as homeowners and 72.2 per cent. living in their own home. LSAP is available to non-married personnel and the number of single homeowners is increasing. Definitive figures on ownership are not available but there is a 66 per cent. take up of LSAP among those unmarried personnel eligible to LSAP.


Based on responses to the Army's most recent Continuous Attitude Survey, 38 per cent. of Army personnel own their own home. When questioned about the degree to which an intention to stay or leave was affected by the prospects of buying or renting their own home, 30 per cent. stated that it would increase their intention to stay, 55 per cent. stated that it would have no effect and 15 per cent. stated that it would increase their intention to leave.


Based on responses to a question in the RAF Continuous General Attitude Survey (GCAS) around 47 per cent. of RAF personnel own their own home (66 per cent. of officers and 42 per cent. of other ranks).

The questions in the GCAS do not make it possible to determine whether an individual's wish to own a home is a factor that encourages them to leave, or remain in the service. However, officers who make an active decision to leave the RAF (by applying for PVR or exercising their right to leave at an option point), and airmen leaving, whether at the end of an engagement, by giving notice, or through PVR, are invited to complete a leavers' survey in which they are asked the importance of various factors on their decision to leave.

Analysis of recent surveys show that there is no single reason for individuals deciding to leave the RAF and compared to other issues, accommodation factors do not rate highly for either officers or airmen. Job satisfaction, career opportunities outside the service, family stability and promotion prospects are among the main concerns.