MINISTERS must stump up more cash for troops and improve the ‘lamentable’ condition of military accommodation, MPs have demanded.
The defence committee has called on the government to boost wages for all those in the armed forces, ending the current one per cent pay cap.
And the powerful team of MPs has also said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) must come up with a ‘radical reform’ of its ‘sub-standard’ military housing.
In the group’s annual report, the cross-party team urged the MoD to look long and hard at CarillionAmey and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) who oversee the state of service homes.
An investigation by The News last year revealed how deprived military families in Portsmouth had had to beg neighbours for a bath as a backlog of almost 2,000 repair jobs stacked up in the county.
Now Mark Francois MP, defence committee member and former infantryman, has said: ‘For years, service personnel have received a sub-standard accommodation service from the DIO and their contractors.
‘This has gone on long enough and simply has to change. The DIO is a frankly dysfunctional organisation and the committee is now calling on MoD ministers to get a grip and come up with a radical action plan to reform the DIO and show service personnel and their families that they are indeed valued and will be treated as such in the future.’
Dr Julian Lewis, defence committee chairman, also demanded the government scrap its one per cent pay cap for the armed forces.
He said: ‘It would be disgraceful if our service people missed out on an increase in pay while they watched others who work for the government receive pay awards. What kind of message does that send to soldiers about how much we value the difficult and sometimes dangerous job that they do?’
Hampshire has the largest armed forces population in the UK, with some 7,500 service family accommodation homes – about 15 per cent of the nation’s total military housing stock.
In The News’s probe, 1,889 repairs were outstanding, with issues ranging from broken heaters and dodgy plumbing to faulty electrics.
Previously, soldiers from 16 Regiment Royal Artillery, on Thorney Island, had to wait eight months for a boiler in one of the barracks to be fixed.