To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) how many service people were in receipt of housing benefit (a) in 2009 and (b) at the most recent date for which figures are available; and how many he would expect to claim housing benefit if married quarters rents are raised to market levels;
(2) what consideration he has given to the affordability of rents for junior ranks of service personnel if they are to be increased to market levels;
(3) what consideration he has given to geographical variations in rent if married quarters rentals for service personnel are to be increased to market levels;
(4) if he will make a statement about his plans to increase married quarters rents to market levels.
The Ministry of Defence has no plans to charge market rates for Service Personnel accommodation or to introduce geographical variations. Charges will continue to be subject to the recommendations of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB). The AFPRB’s approach is to recommend charges that are linked to the costs faced by civilians, but with a significant subsidy to recognise the drawbacks of living in Service accommodation.
Under this approach, personnel in Service accommodation will continue to pay a significantly smaller percentage of their earnings on accommodation charges than would be likely in the private sector. Any claims for benefits are a private matter for the individual and therefore the Department does not hold any data.