Veterans to benefit from bankers’ fine

A Merlin helicopter from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has been training with HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth Naval Base as part of her Rotary Wing Trials

Helicopter puts flight deck crew through its paces

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A MILLION-POUND upgrade for ex-forces’ housing will be partly funded by money handed over to the government by banks after the Libor-fixing scandal.

Prime minister David Cameron has announced Portsmouth’s Church of England Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Housing Association will receive £160,000 from a £35m fund.

The money will go towards the first phase of remodelling St George’s Court in Hambrook Street, Southsea, which provides homes for up to 46 veterans and their families.

The work will upgrade bathrooms, renew kitchens and alter the balance between flats for singletons and couples.

Chris Wren, the housing association’s director of housing, was invited to 10 Downing Street for the announcement.

He described it as ‘a great experience’.

Patrick Keefe, chief executive of the housing association, said: ‘It is going to help hugely. It means we can deliver the project in a different way and more cheaply which will be a benefit for all of the tenants. It means there could be more money to help support the other premises we run.’

The housing is for ex-service personnel and their immediate families over 60.

There are currently 36 studio flats and five flats with a single double-bedroom.

After the work is complete there will be 25 single-bedroom flats and 12 flats for couples, one of which will be adapted for the disabled.

Speaking at the event on Tuesday, Mr Cameron said: ‘I am immensely proud to be in a room full of people this evening who are supporting our armed forces community.

‘It is fantastic so many Armed Forces charities have been able to benefit from fines from the banking industry – it is right that this money should be used to benefit the forces community and I am pleased to be announcing a further £9m of funding.’