, , , , , ,

Shadow Armed Forces Minister demands assurances Service Families won’t face rent hike

Stephen Morgan MP called on the government today to provide assurances that those living in Service Family Accommodation will not have to pay more as a result of new rent prices set via arbitration with private providers.

The Shadow Armed Forces Minister was questioning the government today on this issue at departmental defence questions in the House of Commons.

This comes following the first details of the forthcoming Armed Forces Bill were published last week. Among other things, the Bill seeks to introduce a legal duty on the relevant UK public bodies for health, education and housing to have due regard to the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. (1)

However, after failed negotiations between the government and Service Family accommodation supplier Annington Homes, the matter is now subject to an arbitration process ahead of the first rent review later this year. (2) (3)

The previous deal provided a 58% downward adjustment on rent, but future rental costs are now subject to the arbitration process. (4)

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“On the face of it, the Armed Forces Bill will enshrine in law a due regard to necessities for Armed Forces personnel and their families, including housing.

“However, many Service Personnel families are facing uncertainty over whether they will be able to afford their rent, after the government failed to agree a fair price with private accommodation suppliers that is now being resolved via arbitration.

“Service personnel and their families deserve far better, and Government must provide them with the assurances they need to keep a roof over their heads.”

People and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer committed to his colleague Jeremy Quinn to following up with further details in writing.

The second reading of the Armed Forces Bill is due to take place on February 8th.