Local MP Bill has welcomed the Government’s progress to date in ensuring that serving and ex-service personnel get the housing they deserve.
Commenting today he explained, ‘All too often the nature of military work undermines the ability of current or ex-service personnel to find a decent, stable and suitable home.
These brave men and women have risked everything to protect the interests of our country. Neither I nor this Government will stand idly by whilst they are denied a fair opportunity to get established on the property ladder.
I am confident that the progressive and balanced package of measures currently being introduced will make a positive difference – not only to members of the Armed Forces but also their deserving families.’
Since chairing a successful summit on the topic last May, Ministers are overseeing a number of supportive initiatives, including:
Placing members of the Armed Forces at the top of the priority list for Government funded home ownership schemes, including FirstBuy. Instructing special agents to visit military bases and promote such schemes.
Working with credit reference agencies and Royal Mail to standardise Forces’ Post Office addresses so personnel are not disadvantaged when applying for mortgages.
Consulting on plans to change the law so that former personnel with urgent housing needs are always given high priority for social housing and personnel who move from base-to-base do not lose qualification rights.
Issuing statutory guidance to councils on the allocation of social housing, setting out how their allocation schemes can give priority to current or ex-service personnel, including using local preference criteria and local lettings policies.
Accelerating the release of surplus public land to build up to 100,000 new homes by 2015, which, subject to planning, could benefit ex-service personnel.
Encouraging custom built housing, so that more schemes are designed by, and for, ex-service personnel.• working with specialist agencies to prevent homelessness amongst ex-service.
Working with specialist agencies to prevent homelessness amongst ex-service personnel, including through enhanced resettlement support for early service leavers;
Providing Disabled Facilities Grant funding so that home adaptations can enable disabled service personnel to live independently. DFG will rise to £185m by 2014/15. Ensuring that national planning rules are sufficiently flexible to support applications from disabled ex-service personnel for homes that suit their needs.
Launching a £1.5 million fund to support the successful integration of retired Gurkha soldiers and their dependants, who, having served in the British Army, now wish to settle in the UK.