Armed Forces: Home Ownership

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley 2:30 pm, 23rd February 2015

What steps he is taking to increase home ownership among members of the armed forces.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Conservative, Wimbledon

What steps he is taking to increase home ownership among members of the armed forces.

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Secretary of State for Defence

I am delighted that the forces Help to Buy scheme, launched just 10 months ago, has already helped 2,600 military personnel on to the property ladder, and a further 1,400 approved applications are awaiting the completion of the property purchase. Those 4,000 fully approved applications are broadly equivalent to the entire military presence at Colchester, and the vast majority of them—more than 80%—are for those from non-officer ranks.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. Does this scheme not just prove the good work that this Government have been doing in ensuring the improvements to armed forces accommodation, in terms not only of service accommodation but enabling people in the armed forces to buy their own properties?

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Secretary of State for Defence

Yes, this scheme enables military personnel to have the opportunity to buy their own home and benefit from the increased domestic stability that home ownership brings, bringing a more realistic life choice for those who have chosen to serve their country. We also recognise the importance of continuing to offer subsidised accommodation of a good standard to service personnel who are not yet ready to own their own home, which is why we have committed that from next April no service family will be allocated a house that does not meet the Government’s decent homes standard.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Conservative, Wimbledon

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the success of this scheme, which shows how potent the Government’s Help to Buy schemes are. Will he ensure that he gets all military groups to work with the new Mayor’s land commission to ensure that any unused land can be brought forward for housing purposes?

Photo of Michael Fallon Michael Fallon The Secretary of State for Defence

Yes, I will certainly do that. Of course, under Labour the great recession meant that the prospect of buying a first home was no more than a pipe dream for many thousands of hard-working taxpayers. That is why we launched Help to Buy, which enables those who work hard and get on to enjoy the financial security that they deserve.