One in three army heroes still living in the poorest military accommodation, shock stats reveal

5 December 2023, 07:00

Soldiers are still living in poor quality accommodation
Soldiers are still living in poor quality accommodation. Picture: Alamy
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

One in three of Britain's armed forces heroes in the UK are still living in the poorest rated military accommodation, shock new stats reveal.

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More than 25,000 single personnel are shacking up in "Grade 4" type housing - the lowest ranking awarded by the Ministry of Defence, around 32 per cent of all staff, fresh Labour analysis has found.

A staggering 1,378 people are also living in rental accommodation so poor they don't have to pay rent on it at all.

Glitchy boilers, mould, intermittent heating and hot water and huge waits for repairs have been reported by servicemen and women living in these blocks.

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Several of the accommodation blocks are feared to contain RAAC too - the dodgy concrete which has forced some school buildings to close over safety fears.

It comes after it was revealed that seven in ten family homes run by the army contain asbestos.

And more than 70 per cent of homes run by the Ministry of Defence contain asbestos, The Sunday Telegraph said.

Armed forces heroes are living in low-quality accommodation
Armed forces heroes are living in low-quality accommodation. Picture: Alamy

Ministers were ordered to "sort out the dire state of defence housing" - as the MoD said it was spending £1.5billion into hiking standards.

The rooms are ranked according to decoration, fixtures and fittings, heating and standard of toilets and showers.

The 2023 Armed Forces Continuous Attitude survey revealed that nearly half (46 per cent) were unhappy with the standard of their accommodation - and more (54 per cent) were unhappy with responses to repair requests.

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Last week Claire Kober, the managing director of homes at Pinnacle Group, which handles calls for repairs that are then carried out by Amey and VIVO, told MPs said her desk had been told to expect 34,200 calls – but 52,000 came in when they took over the contract in 2022.

The managing director of VIVO, Jerry Moloney, told a defence committee hearing into the state of service accommodation that the condition of the defence estate "was in a far worse state than we ever anticipated".

This year, Shadow Armed Forces Minister, Luke Pollard launched Homes Fit for Heroes, a Labour campaign to highlight the poor state of armed forces accommodation.

Labour has called for better military accommodation
Labour has called for better military accommodation. Picture: Alamy

Labour has promised to prioritise raising standards in army accommodation if they get into power next year.

Mr Pollard told LBC: "The Conservatives are failing in their duty to our service personnel, who are forced to live in homes with broken boilers, black mould, leaky roofs and endless waits for repairs.

"The standard of service accommodation has been consistently low and getting worse under this government, but despite the rhetoric nothing's changed.

"Ministers must do right by personnel and sort out the dire state of defence housing. In Government, Labour will legislate to establish an Armed Forces Commissioner to act as a strong, independent voice for service personnel and their families and make service accommodation a priority, so that those who serve, and their families live in homes fit for heroes."

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: "The defence secretary has made the provision of higher quality accommodation for service personnel a personal priority, reflecting the selfless dedication our Armed Forces provide for the nation.

"That's why we are introducing minimum standards to ensure all service personnel have access to good quality accommodation, and additionally ensuring issues are rightly addressed much more quickly.

"Over the next decade we are committed to spending more than £4 billion to make improvement to existing accommodation and build new living quarters for our service personnel."