Unfortunately no link as the article is not online but here it is anyway: 'The atrocious condition of defence housing was laid bare last month when Ministry of Defence officials were hauled before the public accounts committee (PAC) for a grilling on the subject. Top MoD mandarin Bill Jeffery was forced to admit that 40 percent of accomodation was indeed "sub-standard" and that his job now was "undoing some years of neglect". His colleague Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, aka Mr Princess Anne, head of Defence Estates, exposed the false economy of skimping on essential maintenance when he said he wasn't surprised that servicemen were leaving in droves because of grotty accommodation: 40 percent of those quitting the services cited ropey housing as a reason. Even with a bit of extra cash going in after the recent public outcry, it will take 25 years to upgrade 19,000 substandard houses. Meanwhile health remains at risk as there are only half the required safety engineers, a situation so desperate tHat Labour MP Alan Williams thought it might be helped by a spot of ambulance-chasing. "Perhaps some of the no-fee litigation people who are trying to milk money out of the NHS should actually do us a social service by turning their attention to any incidents in the accommodation for which you are responsible," he cheekily suggested. The MoD's committment to resolving the scandal reamins parsimonious at best: an extra £17m for upgrades and £35m for new boliers, redecoration etc this year, most of which is coming from already over-stretched armed forces budgets. In the same year, more than £1bn, 20 times as much, will go on 47 separate PFI projects, while a similar amount disappears in the Iraqi desert. One of the top brass, on the other hand, is set to profit handsomely from the MoD's estate. Colonel Gordon Shipley, deputy chief of staff at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham on the pleasant Wilts/Oxon border, earlier this year bagged himself some prime land from his employer when the Academy put up three quarters of an acre for auction. Strangely the sale was only advertised in a local Swindon paper and attracted little interest when it was put under the hammer in London. Shipley duly acquired the plot, large enough to build three expensive homes in the desirable village. An MoD spokeswoman would only say that its Defence Fraud Analysis Unit is investigating.' So thats all right then!