Third of military families not happy with homes, as shock report finds 'too many' live in 'poor housing'

Soldiers of the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery at Thorney Island.'Picture Ian Hargreaves (161299-3)
Soldiers of the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery at Thorney Island.'Picture Ian Hargreaves (161299-3)
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THE Ministry of Defence is 'missing' its targets for improving military housing, a government watchdog has warned today.

A report by the influential public accounts committee found 'too many' skilled personnel are living in 'poor housing,' while nearly one in five properties lie empty.

The findings show little has changed since an investigation by The News two years ago found military families living in squalor as a result of poor housing provisions.

One family in the Portsmouth were left waiting for weeks over winter without hot water, relying on the kindness of neighbours for a warm bath.

In its investigation, The News revealed a private firm had a backlog of 1,889 repair jobs in properties occupied by military families.

MP Meg Hillier, chairman of the public accounts committee, said: 'Too many military service personnel find themselves in living quarters where the standard is simply not good enough.

'Poor accommodation puts a strain on working and family life and hits morale and  retention rates.

'The nation cannot afford to lose experienced and skilled personnel simply because their homes are not up to standard.'

The committee, which has Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan as a member, found that the MoD spent £135m refurbishing around 3,500 homes in 2018.

But a department survey revealed that overall satisfaction with housing only rose slightly to 64 per cent last year.

The report comes after concerns around ‘sub-standard housing’ and ‘poor quality support’ for military families was raised by Fareham MP Suella Braverman in Parliament less than a month ago, with the MP calling to meet defence minister Tobias Ellwood to discuss complaints from service personnel living in Fareham.  

 She said: 'Providing for our armed forces encompasses far more than just making sure they have the necessary support and equipment in combat.

'If we want to maintain our proud tradition of having the world’s best armed forces,  we have to ensure that they are housed appropriately and with dignity .’