Westminster: Mr Touhig on on Service Accomodation

from Tuesday's Commons Defence Questions. HANSARD SOURCE

Service Accommodation

Mr. David Kidney (Stafford) (Lab): What steps he is taking to improve the standards of accommodation for service personnel at UK military bases. [17620]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Don Touhig): Through new building and upgrade programmes, we plan to achieve sustained improvement of single living accommodation, providing trained personnel with well-equipped single rooms with en-suite facilities. On current plans, over 33,500 such rooms will have been provided in the UK by April 2009. We also have projects under way to modernise our service families' accommodation.

Mr. Kidney: Does my hon. Friend agree that the question of spending on accommodation for our service personnel is as important as the debate about spending on weapons procurement, especially when we are discussing rates of recruitment and retention? Will he say a little more about the priority that he is giving to raising standards of accommodation for service personnel, particularly those who have to live on military bases?

Mr. Touhig: My mission statement is simple and has been endorsed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence: we value servicemen and women and their families and we will take every practical step to demonstrate that. One clear way of demonstrating how much we value them is by improving the quality of their accommodation. Attitude surveys show that that is important for service morale and will make an important contribution to recruitment and retention. We have an extensive programme of investment in servicemen's and family accommodation. One of my priorities is to see whether we can accelerate that while I occupy this office.
Its a shame that the accom in some Bulford barracks is in sh*t state and hasn't been touched in over 40 years. I remeber one room on my floor in Ward barracks with a room so infested with roaches it had to be sealed off, not to mention the windows ehich had been painted shut years before. It was like the descriptions of houses in mining towns in Orwells 'The road to Wigan Pier'. I found it sad that the best accomodation I ever had was in Gemany in the cold war, after that it got worse and worse as the defence budget was neglected. Still, they renovated the pads houses on a fairly regular basis, so thats all right then.
Accommodation for squaddies has always been seen as very low priority, so it's not likely to improve any time soon. This is to make it appear as if they're tackling the problem. Typical of Phoney Tony and his crooked crew.
But slightly off-topic: this geezer's name is Kidney? If he's a brief, he can open up an office with another brief I know around here, whose name is (and I shitteth thee not!) Ronald Stayke!


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