Yorkshire MoD accomodation attacked by Labour as unfit for serving personnel

Labour have attacked the Ministry of Defence (MOD) over what it has called “unfit” accomodation for serving military.

Analysis by the opposition found some 38 per cent of military personnel in South and West Yorkshire are living in Grade 4 housing – the lowest grade of MOD accomodation.

Just 21 per cent live in the top Grade 1 accommodation, the lowest proportion since 2018.

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The MOD awards grades to its Single Living Accommodation based on ‘deficiency points’ allocated across 14 categories.

Shadow Defence Secretary John HealeyShadow Defence Secretary John Healey
Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey

Points are apportioned for the condition of bedroom decoration, fixtures and fittings, adequacy of heating systems and the proximity of toilet and washing facilities, among other factors.

Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey, the MP for Wentworth and Dearne, said: “The Conservatives are failing in their duty to our Armed Forces, who are forced to live in discomfort as properties fall into disrepair.

“The standard of accommodation has been consistently low and getting worse under this government yet nothing’s changed.

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"These conditions wouldn’t be acceptable in civilian life, and they certainly aren’t acceptable for actively serving personnel.

“The government must deliver homes fit for those serving our country.”

There is currently no minimum quality standard set for Single Living Accommodation, but standards will be set from 2023 in the MOD’s new strategy.

Some 96,160 personnel live in Single Living Accomodation nationwide, with 40 per cent nationally in the Grade 4 category.

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But the MOD said it had plans to spend some £1.6bn over the next few years to improve accomodation standards.

A spokesperson said: ““Our Armed Forces in Yorkshire and the rest of the UK deserve good quality, safe homes, which is why we have introduced a minimum standard through the Defence Accommodation Strategy.

“We will also spend more than £1.6 billion over the next decade to improve Single Living Accommodation and build new living quarters.”

It comes as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace called on the Labour front bench to tell their “union paymasters” to not go on strike over Christmas and “ruin the lives” of members of the Armed Forces.

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Speaking in the House of Commons, John Healey said: “At today’s Cobra meeting, will the Defence Secretary tell other ministers in other departments they are too often using our Armed Forces to bail out their own departments’ failures, especially when he’s making further deep cuts to the Army?

“Will he tell the House now, in addition to those deployed on overseas operations which he’s mentioned, how many of our forces will be deployed or on stand-by over Christmas in response to requests for military assistance he’s already agreed to?”

Mr Wallace said: “I will do the right honourable gentleman a deal. I’ll raise that at Cobra if he tells his union paymasters to not go on strike over Christmas and not ruin the lives of our soldiers and sailors.”

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