MPs hit out at MoD over accommodation

#1
In today's Scotsman.

A related BAFF (British Armed Forces Federation) announcement is pending, following a BAFF meeting on Sunday.

The Scotsman Sat 24 Nov 2007

MPs hit out at MoD over accommodation
GERRI PEEV

MINISTERS have come under fire for "complacency" over the shoddy state of military accommodation by MPs.

The Ministry of Defence's (MoD) response to a critical report on housing for soldiers and their families left the Commons Defence Committee extremely disappointed".

The department and ministers had ignored many of its recommendations to improve the state of single and married quarters, the committee said.

In its response, the MoD said that the criticism was "neither a fair reflection of the overall position nor a reflection of a serious policy failure".

The MoD denied the committee's finding that there was "an attitude of resignation" to poor-quality maintenance, and that the ability to resolve problems had been removed from the chain of command.

But Conservative MP James Arbuthnot, the chairman of the defence committee, said: "We are extremely disappointed that the Ministry of Defence has failed to engage with several of our central recommendations.

"We do not doubt that Defence Estates are working very hard to tackle the enormous challenges of providing good quality housing for our service personnel, but we are not reassured that they have fully acknowledged the scale of the problem.

"A vein of complacency runs through the MoD's response to our report."

An MoD spokeswoman insisted that it was "absolutely not complacent" over troops' accommodation.

"Good quality housing is an issue we take extremely seriously and we recognise that it is a fundamental part of the welfare package we give to our armed forces personnel and their families," she said. ...
 
#2
Thing is hackle, do you know of a better choice for government? While opposition seem to be saying good stuff, it is entirely reactionary. This is dissapointing. All they need to do to look competent is point at Labour.

I reckon that we need a more active opposition. One that leads with policies rather than just criticise government failures. In some ways I can see us getting a Conservative government with little or no direction. Labour are buggering up enougth to make the Tories look better without the opposition having to get organised in any meaningfull way.
 
#3
Perturbed said:
Thing is hackle, do you know of a better choice for government? While opposition seem to be saying good stuff, it is entirely reactionary. This is dissapointing. All they need to do to look competent is point at Labour.

I reckon that we need a more active opposition. One that leads with policies rather than just criticise government failures. In some ways I can see us getting a Conservative government with little or no direction. Labour are buggering up enougth to make the Tories look better without the opposition having to get organised in any meaningfull way.
Agreed they have not really come out with any meaningful policies. I think they should be asked just what they will do to rectify the present neglect. What is needed from both parties is a an immediate plan to deal with the wars and a ten year plan with cash commitment to put the forces back on their feet. Any takers?
 
#4
Link to the MOD's response to the Defence Committee's report on the work of Defence Estates: clicky.

Some choice comments from the MPs on the MoD response, see below. It's not a long document, and well worth a scan at the link given.

We welcome the steps which are being taken to improve and modernise Single Living Accommodation, and have seen some new accommodation which is first-rate. However, it is not clear what the strategy is and some accommodation remains appalling. This is unacceptable. Quite apart from this being poor management of property, accommodation is an important factor in retention, and the MoD must do more to address the condition of accommodation if it is not to lose experienced personnel who are very difficult to replace. The MoD must, as a priority, put right the worst accommodation as well as that which can most easily be improved.
Views on the merits of the Annington deal differ. Undoubtedly, the increase in property prices makes the deal look, with the benefit of hindsight, less attractive than it looked at the time. But the deal was intended to deliver not just money into the public purse but also incentives for the MoD to maintain acceptable standards of repair and fewer empty properties. Our comments below on the disposal of properties suggest that these incentives have not operated as intended. We find this deeply disappointing. Given the constraints of the Annington deal and the changing strategic requirements, there is a case for a review of the whole of the married quarter estate to ensure that property is being retained and disposed of optimally, with maximum value for money for the taxpayer.
In our view, the proceeds from sales of surplus married quarters should be re-invested in Service accommodation.
Whilst we welcome the progress the MoD has made in upgrading Service Family Accommodation, much more remains to be done. The MoD needs to recognise the scale of the challenge it faces.
It would be perverse if Defence Estates were spending money improving properties which it intends to dispose of when so much accommodation in which Service personnel are living is in need of improvement. It was intended that the Annington deal should incentivise the MoD to maintain properties to an acceptable standard, so that it could dispose of them without expense if they were no longer required. If the MoD is allowing property to fall into disrepair prior to disposal, this is simply bad management. We recommend that the MoD give details, in its response to this report, on how much it has spent on upgrading property before disposal.
We recommend that, in its response to our report, the MoD set out how it plans to reduce the number of vacant Service family homes. We also expect the MoD to set out when the key decisions will be made which will provide clarity on the number and location of Service family homes needed in the future.
We note that the MoD offers individuals a loan of up to £8,500 towards the purchase of a house. Given the rise in house prices throughout the UK in the last decade, the MoD should consider increasing the amount of loan offered to Service personnel.
We recommend that, in the response to this report, the MoD set out how it intends to respond to the proposals set out in the Housing Green Paper, and how these policies will impact on Service personnel in areas covered by the devolved administrations.
We welcome the steps which Annington Homes has taken voluntarily to prioritise Service families when it sells former Service Family Accommodation. However, the fact that Service families may not in practice have the opportunity to buy their own homes sits uneasily with the MoD's efforts to encourage home ownership among Service personnel.
The MoD must learn from the problems it experienced in implementing the Housing Prime Contract. While new contractual arrangements inevitably suffer from teething problems, it is extraordinary that the MoD had to pay an additional £20 million—a fifth of the contract value—to achieve a reasonable level of service. We expect an explanation, and a progress report, in the response to this report.
We welcome the increased focus on customer satisfaction in the new Housing Customer Attitude Survey and its extension to the occupants of Service accommodation overseas. We are disappointed that the MoD has still to make the results of the CAS available to us. We look for an analysis of the findings, and of the MoD's plans to respond, in the response to this report.
 
#5
Perturbed said:
Thing is hackle, do you know of a better choice for government? While opposition seem to be saying good stuff, it is entirely reactionary. This is dissapointing. All they need to do to look competent is point at Labour.

I reckon that we need a more active opposition. One that leads with policies rather than just criticise government failures. In some ways I can see us getting a Conservative government with little or no direction. Labour are buggering up enougth to make the Tories look better without the opposition having to get organised in any meaningfull way.
True - Brown's Clowns make almost ANYONE look good!

Unfortunately, there is no real alternative; they are ALL a bunch of cnuts!

That's why we MUST get Clarkson to stand for Parliament! Or better yet, install him as Leader following the Coup... :twisted:
 
#6
Random question but do the armed forces not come under the health and safety Nazis or does Crown immunity take care of that? I'm assuming that's why no-one's ever sued the government over the atrocious living conditions and health risks.
 

mysteron

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
Brick said:
Random question but do the armed forces not come under the health and safety Nazis or does Crown immunity take care of that? I'm assuming that's why no-one's ever sued the government over the atrocious living conditions and health risks.
Crown Immunity was resincinded some years ago (2001, IIRC). So, your question is valid. That being said, I am pretty sure that several posters on this site have threatened that tactic and created the effect before proceedings formally began. Funny that. :x
 
#10
Recruiting_Office_reject said:
Is it correct that of the £5 billion assigned to improved housing actually £2 billion of that is going to pay rentals to Anningtons rather than real repairs ? If so, someone has been spinning again :( :cry:
The sign that a major review of defence policy ending with major cuts in the forces.

Signs: Selling of great lumps of accommodation and renting it back.
Major refurbishment in MOD owned property.

Exactly the same happened prior to the Tory's major cuts in options for change. Already rumours coming out this weekend about major cuts in the RAC.

Once they manage to extract the troops from one of the conflicts standby.
 

mysteron

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
elovabloke - does that mean that the last fraction is about to be swallowed up with a burp by the Boneheads?
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
It's a bit silly for the politicians to be b!tching about MOD funding of service housing isn't it?

Service housing is taking a knock because the MOD has to make a choice between that . . . and equipment, ammunition, vehicles, helicopters, planes and er . . . two underfunded wars.

Very simply answer to that one: The POLITICIANS need to agree to a wholesale increase in funding for the MOD, with a specific and large increase for forces housing. Are we still selling off bases BTW? Oh, yes, we are!
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#14
Anyone know who the Directors of Annington Homes are? I can't find them as my Google powers are too weak..... Also, any Brit Directors of Nomura?

Just interested, it's always worthwhile following the money in things like this.
 
#15
OldSnowy said:
Anyone know who the Directors of Annington Homes are? I can't find them as my Google powers are too weak..... Also, any Brit Directors of Nomura?

Just interested, it's always worthwhile following the money in things like this.
Tad busy at the moment but you may get something HERE
 
#17
What happens to the rental money that service personnel pay. Is this part of the £5 billion the government say they will be spending over 10 years? If it is presumably now that it is down to £3 billion the real money investment is even less! Can anyone clarify this? Is it just more spin and what is the real investment?
 
#18
Seems to me we may as well sign up to join Annington Homes or Northern Rock as one off our ex field marshalls puts it, this shite government knows that less than 200,000 in the military will not even dent them during an election.
Therefore no care.
Good to hear our un-elected PM did not even attend MOD briefings as Chancellor untill it affected his constituency in Scotland.
 
#19
OldSnowy said:
Anyone know who the Directors of Annington Homes are? I can't find them as my Google powers are too weak..... Also, any Brit Directors of Nomura?
Well looks as some outfit called Terra Firma Capital Partners run by a guy called Guy Hands are the actual owners now.
 
#20
Brick said:
OldSnowy said:
Anyone know who the Directors of Annington Homes are? I can't find them as my Google powers are too weak..... Also, any Brit Directors of Nomura?
Well looks as some outfit called Terra Firma Capital Partners run by a guy called Guy Hands are the actual owners now.
Private Equity eh? Ah well the trail will go cold...however there is no reason why it could not be bought back and set up properly as a non profit run by dedicated people, with repairs involving Forces resettlement training etc.
 

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