Cut in funding for defence homes


The Ministry of Defence's housing budget in Scotland has dropped by almost £8m in the last year, according to documents obtained by BBC Scotland.

Some families said they have had to endure poor married quarters.

Documents which revealed a major fall in spending on housing were obtained under freedom of information rules.

MoD officials insisted that they have continued to invest in housing stock and have received a relatively small number of complaints each year.

In 2006/7, the MoD spent £20.7m on service families' accommodation compared with more than £28m the year before.

Over the same period, there was also a rise in the number of complaints about the housing stock.

The Churchill housing estate, near Helensburgh, is one of a number of sites around the country with homes built for MoD staff.

It contains houses which were constructed for Royal Navy staff serving at the nearby Faslane base.

Some Navy wives there said the area's decline was all too apparent in the smashed windows and graffiti on derelict buildings.

One resident, who wanted to be referred to only as 'Karen', is the wife of a Royal Navy sailor and has lived in married quarters for almost 10 years.

She said: "It has got to the stage where I don't even know where to turn to. I have problems with damp and the general lack of maintenance.

"I had a pipe burst in my bathroom and I had to wait years for the damage to be fixed.

"It's upsetting for my husband to be off at sea for months at a time with all this on the back of his mind.

"It used to be that standards were extremely high but now it is as if no-one cares anymore. It's all about money and they seem intent on letting this place fall to wrack and ruin."

'Extremely high'

Another woman, referred to as 'Louise', comes from a Royal Navy family and has lived in MoD housing across the UK for most of her life.

However, she was shocked to see the conditions of MoD homes in Scotland.

She said that the general decline of the area's housing had led to more anti-social behaviour.

She said: "I have stayed in married quarters in Portsmouth and Plymouth and this is the worst place by a long way.

"It seems that no matter how long you complain, it never gets noticed."

The MoD said it managed nearly 4,000 homes across Scotland with 1,600 changes of occupancy each year.

Despite the high volume of work undertaken, officials said customer surveys consistently demonstrated that more than 95% of occupants were fully satisfied with the housing service they received.

An MoD spokeswoman said that recent accommodation improvements at Faslane and Glencorse barracks had created some of the best military housing in the UK.

She said that if the Glencorse project was excluded from the figures, actual expenditure on housing in Scotland had increased over the past five years.

The spokeswoman added: "Some housing that is now surplus to requirements is being sold and that money will be ploughed back into defence estates.

"All complaints are taken seriously and are being addressed. Complaints are very few when you consider we have thousands of service men and women working in Scotland."


Not surprised. But articles like this help to keep it in the public eye.


Now the Bishop joins in:

The Roman Catholic bishop to the military has attacked the Government for failing to upgrade the "appalling" living conditions of troops and their families.

The Bishop of the Forces, the Rt Rev Tom Burns, is demanding that money is provided immediately to raise the quality of military housing.

He has also criticised the long-term care of those wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming that soldiers maimed or traumatised by conflict are often neglected.

In a letter to all Catholic military personnel and their families to mark Remembrance Sunday this weekend, he told the Government that doing the minimum was not sufficient.

"The condition of many Service Quarters has been described as 'appalling' here and now," the bishop wrote.

"Only a lump-sum injected without delay will bring positive effects to the quality of life and support that a family gives to one of its own in the Forces - now, at a time of conflict, rather than waiting until later.

"The risk to life and limb facing every serviceman and woman on operations has increased. The state's duty of care in return has increased, but sometimes is found wanting.

"Any nation's conscience that is properly formed will demand that it stands by its moral commitment to its troops in conflict, in death and in injury, and that it does the very best for their anxious and grieving families too.

"Offering the minimum is not enough: not in wages, nor in equipment, nor in housing, nor in medical care."

Senior military commanders last month pressed the Government to spend the £900 million raised from selling Chelsea Barracks on improving living conditions for the forces. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, agreed that the money will over time be spent on military accommodation.

Military housing has been described as "disgraceful" by a committee of MPs and "frankly shaming" by Gen Sir Mike Jackson, the former head of the Army.

Bishop Burns said the Government should also do more to look after all war veterans.

"Few ever return from war unmarked," he said. "The experience returns with them, to trouble them."

The MoD responded to the Bishop's comments by saying that it took the issue of housing "very seriously".

A spokesman said: "We acknowledge that there are problem areas of the estate which require work, but we are making progress in upgrading our housing and accommodation - a big task because we are trying to reverse a legacy of under-funding."

More than £5 billion has been earmarked for housing over the next decade with a further £80 million announced for single accommodation, the MoD said.
Good on you Pardre.

Good to see someone with balls (even if you are not allowed to use them)

Sorry about all that jesuit and papal burning stuff yesterday - nothing personal!
There are many schemes out in the council areas, is it possible these people/companies/projects not be involved in military schemes.

Or is this an embarrassment to the government needing charity to help out the Armed Forces
I stayed in a quarter at the Helensburgh site recently. Frankly, whoever designed that estate needs a good kicking - mind you, it was well patrolled by the local police, I wonder why?


mnairb said:
I stayed in a quarter at the Helensburgh site recently. Frankly, whoever designed that estate needs a good kicking - mind you, it was well patrolled by the local police, I wonder why?
Because the people living there all work with nukes? :wink:
The Government announced a £500M uplift in the funding available to upgrade MOD accommodation during the last budget statement.

So Brown, let's be honest, was that 'new' money or just you replacing the cuts that had already been made?

Smoke and mirrors.............
I think most of the money has been blown on the SLA within Faslane; being a few miles away in Helensburgh, the married quarters are literally out of sight, out of mind. Lots of shiney new boxes for the matelots and bootys to live in.
Been in a few of the houses on the Churchill estate and they have to be the most depressing houses's I've ever been in .Glad I was only visiting rather than living there, although I seem to remember a few years back the MOD spending money doing up some housing around Helensburgh and then putting them on the open market

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