Shadow defence secretary Nia Griffiths is pledging to improve the quality of housing for serving military personnel if Labour gets into power.
Writing on the Politics Home website, unveiling policies being discussed at this week’s Labour Party conference in Brighton, she says: “Labour will also ensure decent, properly maintained housing that meets the specific needs of personnel and their families.”
Griffiths claims there have been repeated complaints about the poor maintenance of Ministry of Defence accommodation, and says the current Boris Johnson-led government is “unable or unwilling” to insist on better delivery of the service.
“All too often these private contracts simply fail on their own terms. They fail to make the promised savings and they fail to deliver a good quality of service for personnel and their families” Griffiths writes.
“Whether it is the persistent complaints about the quality of housing maintenance provided by contractor Amey – with personnel and their families stuck for days with leaking roofs, broken boilers and appliances that don’t work. Or the appalling performance of Capita’s Recruiting Partnership Project which is failing in its basic job of recruiting people to the Army. This in turn puts enormous pressure on existing personnel.”
She insists that Labour will review existing housing contracts if it comes to power and if they are considered failing “we will have no hesitation in bringing these contracts back in-house.”
She adds: “Labour will introduce a clear presumption in favour of public contracts being delivered by the public sector and we will call an immediate halt to the significant contracts that are currently being considered for outsourcing.”
Griffiths also says: “We will ensure a fair pay rise each year for our Armed Forces personnel. The Conservatives have dealt a real-terms pay cut to our servicemen and women for seven years running. This is despite the fact that the government has increased food and accommodation charges and cut social security payments for Forces families.”