Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has urged the Government to deliver good-quality homes for those serving in the armed services.
Gwynne’s intervention comes after MoD data uncovered by Labour revealed that over 36% of service personnel in Greater Manchester were living in the lowest grade of service accommodation.
Across the country, 40% of personnel living in Single Living Accommodation occupy ‘Grade 4 accommodation’ – the lowest rating given by the Ministry of Defence.
A further 4,360 personnel live in accommodation so poor that no rental charge is levied. Just 21% live in the top ‘Grade 1’ accommodation, the lowest proportion since 2018.
The Ministry of Defence awards grades to its Single Living Accommodation based on ‘deficiency points’ allocated across 14 categories. Points are apportioned for the condition of bedroom decoration, fixtures and fittings, adequacy of heating systems and the proximity of toilet and washing facilities, among other factors.
There is currently no minimum quality standard set for Single Living Accommodation and no minimum acceptable conditions that service personnel should expect. A 2021 National Audit Office report on Single Living Accommodation exposed ‘decades of underinvestment’ and ‘problems with heating and hot water.’
The Armed Forces Continuous Attitude survey reveals that 41% of tri-service personnel live in Single Living Accommodation during the working week.
The same survey shows 40% of tri-service personnel were dissatisfied with the overall standard of their accommodation. A majority of 52% said they were dissatisfied with the responses to maintenance request and repairs.
Commenting, Andrew Gwynne said:
“Our Armed Forces personnel are heroes, and they should have access to good-quality accommodation that reflects their exceptional work.
“It is scandalous that after 12 years of Tory rule, the condition of housing for service personnel has plummeted.
“I’ll do everything I can to press the Government to do more and ensure that personnel get the standard of accommodation they deserve.”
Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey said:
“The Conservatives are failing in their duty to our Armed Forces, who are forced to live in discomfort as properties fall into disrepair.
“The standard of accommodation has been consistently low and getting worse under this government yet nothing’s changed. These conditions wouldn’t be acceptable in civilian life, and they certainly aren’t acceptable for actively serving personnel.
“The government must deliver homes fit for those serving our country.”