Gosport MP says Armed Forces personnel "deserve better" as some living in "rat-infested" accommodation in UK
and live on Freeview channel 276
Defence minister James Cartlidge said thousands of homes for service personnel will benefit from additional funding as he faced questions and criticism from across the House on the issue. He said the situation last winter in relation to issues such as damp and mould in service accommodation “was not good enough” but insisted the Government has set out a plan to address the issue this year.
Royal Navy sailors reported in January this year said some dorms at HMS Collingwood in Fareham were crumbling and infested with maggots. At the time, the Royal Navy said issues relating to infrastructure were fixed, but they had no recent reports of infestations.
NOW READ: Poor HMS Collingwood accommodation
Gosport MP, Dame Caroline Dinenage – Conservative – said: “Earlier this year, one of the accommodation blocks in HMS Collingwood in my Gosport constituency was shut down altogether because it simply was not fit for human habitation, there are also some issues within the accommodation blocks within HMS Sultan.”
She invited the minister to come to her constituency to look at some of the accommodation available for service personnel, saying: “It’s simply not good enough, they deserve better.”
Defence secretary Grant Shapps said more will be done to support the Armed Forces. He told the Commons: “The service men and women of our armed forces are our greatest asset, and has been mentioned this morning, when we ask them to go and do extraordinarily difficult things around the world they do deserve comfort back home, which is why I put service accommodation at the forefront of my mission.”
Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire, Helen Morgan, described some of the conditions her constituents are living in. She said: “A constituent of mine who lives at Clive Barracks at Tern Hill in Shropshire has reported that he lives in rat-infested accommodation and sometimes with two to six soldiers living in the same room.
"As a result, shipping containers have been placed on the grounds there, around 40 at the end of August kitted out like budget hotel accommodation for those soldiers to live in. Can the minister provide any reassurance that somewhere appropriate for these servicemen to live in will be provided in the near future?”
Mr Cartlidge said: “Well I’m obviously sorry to hear about that case, I would ask her very much to write to me with the details of it, I will look into it with DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation). But I think the key thing is wherever we’re talking about, whichever specific barracks or base if we’re going to get on with the works, we need the money there, we’ve got that, we’ve put in place the extra £400 million.
“And as I set out in the winter plan thousands of homes of forces personnel will now benefit from that work.” Mr Cartlidge said there would be a major increase in the number of staff available on the telephone to make the service better and allow for problems to be fixed faster.