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Armed Forces personnel are entitled to Service housing depending upon their circumstances. 40% of personnel live in Single Living Accommodation and nearly a third live in Service Families Accommodation.

The Future Accommodation Model is the Ministry of Defence’s response to a commitment given by the Government to make a new accommodation offer to service personnel. The commitment, made in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, was to “help more Service personnel live in private accommodation and meet their aspirations for home ownership.”

The Government views the current accommodation model as unsustainable and not attractive to all. Currently accommodation is provided to personnel based on their rank and relationship status. The Public Accounts Committee found the current model for providing accommodation for families is “not flexible enough to meet the reasonable needs of service families in the 21st century”.

The Future Accommodation Model suggests will instead be based on need, be more flexible and reflect modern demands. This, the Government believes, will provide personnel with more choice over the type of accommodation they live in, the location and help if they wish to buy their own property or rent privately.

Over 9,000 personnel have already bought their own home via the Forces Help to Buy Scheme, introduced in 2012 and extended to 2018.

Accommodation is a major concern for personnel and is the top issue reported to the Service Families Federations. There have been well-documented issues with the private contractor contracted to provide maintenance. In addition the rollout of a new charging system for service family accommodation in 2016 was “far from successful” from the perspective of many families, the Service Families Federations report. In a recent report on Service Family Accommodation, the Public Accounts Committee stated “Service families have been badly let down for many years and are not getting the accommodation service that they have a right to expect”. The Ministry has also unveiled a Defence Estate Strategy with a view to reducing the built estate by 30% by 2040. The National Audit Office described the strategy as ‘extremely challenging’.

MPs discussed the Future Accommodation Model in a debate on the Armed Forces Covenant on 2 February 2017 and during oral questions on 13 March 2017.  MPs questioned whether the proposals were driven by the need to cut costs, the availability of affordable housing to buy or rent near bases and the potential negative effect on retention. The Service Families Federations reported “increasing nervousness” about the future accommodation model, with personnel worried that SFA availability will be limited, that quality will fall and prices rise.

The Ministry of Defence is finalising the detail of the Future Accommodation Model.

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