Service Accommodation

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st October 1975.

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Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake 12:00 am, 21st October 1975

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total stock of service accommodation in the United Kingdom; and what is the average length of time a house or other unit of accommodation remains vacant in the United Kingdom and in Plymouth, respectively.

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Teesside Stockton

At present the Services have some 103,000 married quarters and hirings in the United Kingdom. The period when quarters are empty between tenants is normally up to two or three weeks throughout the United Kingdom, but in cases of modernisation or redeployment of units the period is inevitably longer.

Photo of Miss Janet Fookes Miss Janet Fookes , Plymouth Drake

Is the Minister satisfied with the arrangements that are made for ex-Service men, because this is a problem which concerns many local authorities, especially my own, which is a Service constituency?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Teesside Stockton

We have not been satisfied in the past, because it is important that when people leave the Services, where they have been accustomed to having accommodation, they should find somewhere satisfactory to live. As the hon. Lady will know, a circular giving further advice has recently been sent to local authorities. We shall do all we possibly can to meet what I agree is a serious problem.

Photo of Peter Tapsell Peter Tapsell , Horncastle

Is the Minister aware that the circular to which he refers urging housing authorities to give specially sympathetic consideration to ex-Service men when applying for council houses is more honoured in the breach than the observance? Is he aware that in Lincolnshire I have had difficulty in finding council house accommodation for ex-Service men and that more co-ordination is needed?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Teesside Stockton

In my experience, the circular is more honoured in the observance than in the breach. Ofter local authorities have acute housing problems of their own. If the hon. Gentleman would like to give me details of particularly difficult cases, I shall be glad to look at them.