Satisfaction in military housing rises one per cent, despite £135 million investment

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The MoD has spent £135million renovating substandard military housing but has only improved satisfaction levels by one per cent, a new report has found.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), parliament’s public spending watchdog, has warned that the military risks losing highly skilled service personnel if improvements are not made.

In the latest report on military housing, the MPs say that 3,500 homes were refurbished in the last year at a cost of £135 million, but that overall satisfaction only increased slightly.

The MoD had considered the highest level of satisfaction that was realistically achievable to be 80 per cent, but lowered this figure in 2019 to 68 per cent. Even with the change, and the slight upturn in satisfaction, only 64 per cent of respondents said they were happy with their government-provided accommodation. 

Meg Hillier, Chair of the PAC, said: “Too many military service personnel find themselves in living quarters where the standard is simply not good enough.

“Poor accommodation puts a strain on working and family life and hits morale and retention rates.

“The nation cannot afford to lose experienced and skilled personnel simply because their homes are not up to standard.”

The report was also critical of the military being “slow” to react to changing social attitudes.

It said that only those who are married or in a civil partnership are “entitled” to accommodation, whereas those in long-term relationships only remain “eligible”.

The PAC has long criticised the MoD for the sell off and leaseback of more than 55,000 service family homes to Annington Property Limited in 1996, a move it has described as  “disastrous for taxpayers”. 

The committee is particularly concerned that a rent review between the MoD and the property developer, due to start later this year, could see service personnel hit with much higher accommodation charges.

The MoD accepted it had a comparatively weak hand going into these negotiations, but said it would “play its hand skilfully and aggressively” when the process begins in October.



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