Armed Forces: Housing

Defence written question – answered on 21st January 2008.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) recent discussions he has had on and (b) steps he is taking to make his Department's (i) housing procurement strategy, (ii) refurbishment programme and (iii) emergency repairs functions more efficient.

Photo of Derek Twigg Derek Twigg Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Veterans)

Defence Ministers are taking an active lead in the work being done on accommodation—this involves frequent meetings, briefings and site visits with stakeholders, service personnel and other interested parties. We want to ensure a step-change and to drive forward further work on upgrading and improving accommodation, including repair and maintenance.

In recent years a single Housing Prime Contract (HPC) has been set up covering the maintenance of some 45,000 service families accommodation (SFA) in England and Wales, which replaced hundreds of previous contracts. The HPC helpline ensures that emergency calls are responded to quickly with nearly all emergency repairs now being effected within the required timescales. Since 2003 SFA in Scotland has been maintained as part of the Regional Prime Contract.

In a similar timeframe, Project Single Living Accommodation Modernisation (SLAM) was launched to deliver new en-suite SLA across the UK together with several parallel PFI projects. These initiatives have resulted in 12,000 SFA and 20,000 SLA being upgraded since 2002 and have increased the efficiency of delivery.

We are also developing an Estate Development Plan which will help us ensure we have an estate of the right size and quality.

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