Over 9,000 MoD properties which could have been used to house service personnel and their families were left vacant last year, according to new figures revealed by the Liberal Democrats.
In response to a Parliamentary Question by Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson, Willie Rennie, Defence Minister Kevan Jones revealed that:
· A total of 9,046 units of Service Family Accomodation
(SFA) are currently vacant (October 2008)
· Of these properties, 2,270 have been vacant for between
one and five years
· The majority of these properties are currently being
leased from Annington Homes by the MoD
Commenting, Willie Rennie said:
"It is outrageous that the MoD is wasting millions of pounds renting empty properties while the men and women of our armed forces are still faced with a lack of decent homes.
"Our service men and women are putting their lives on the line overseas. The Government has a responsibility to look after their families and provide them with a proper standard of accommodation.
"Instead, the MoD’s incompetence means that money is being wasted on empty houses when there is a desperate need for it elsewhere.
"If these homes aren’t needed for defence personnel they should be released to the local authority to help meet the huge demand for affordable housing.
"The current lack of housing is nothing short of scandalous. We need more joined-up working between sectors if are to correct this worrying trend."