Service Accommodation

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th July 2017.

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Photo of Fiona Onasanya Fiona Onasanya Labour, Peterborough 12:00 am, 10th July 2017

What discussions he had with contractors on their delivery of service accommodation; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The national housing prime contractor is CarillionAmey and, with support from the MOD, performance levels for service accommodation have been met and sustained. Both organisations meet monthly to review performance, and the Department will penalise poor performance where necessary.

Photo of Fiona Onasanya Fiona Onasanya Labour, Peterborough

I thank the Secretary of State for his response. What estimate has he made of the impact of renegotiating the lease in 2021? Will the costs fall on service families?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for calling me the Secretary of State; I hope that if enough people say that, it will actually—[Interruption.] I should not say that. I will say, however, that the hon. Lady raises the important issue of ensuring that service family accommodation is up to par. That forms part of our armed forces people proposals, which I will be speaking more about in the House. I hope that we will have the opportunity to review the contract in 2021, but I hope the hon. Lady understands that negotiations will take place and that we will we keep the House updated.

Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that there are no plans to eradicate single-living accommodation for service personnel?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

As far as I understand it, there are no plans to remove single-living accommodation, which forms part of the complex offering of service family accommodation. As we have heard, we need to rationalise the defence estate across the country, and we are returning officers and personnel from the Rhine, which will require building projects, including single-living accommodation.

Photo of Gerald Jones Gerald Jones Shadow Minister (Defence)

As we have heard, the Armed Forces Pay Review Body’s 46th report found that there was an

“overwhelming view that the maintenance service provided by CarillionAmey was continuing to fall well short of the needs of Service personnel and their families.”

Service families are tired of Government platitudes, so how bad do things have to get before the Government get a grip on the issue?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his place and to the Dispatch Box. He is right to raise that issue. I have just inherited this brief, and there has been concern about standards, in which the Secretary of State has taken a personal interest. We are ensuring that performance levels are up to par, and there will be an opportunity to renegotiate the contract in 2021.