Responding to recent data that shows that 8704 houses owned by the Ministry of Defence are currently not in use, Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson, Jamie Stone, is calling on the Government to use these properties to house refugees.
The Ministry of Defence has stated that it recognises it has too many vacant Service Family Accommodation properties. Currently, 18% of total properties are not occupied.
The MoD also says it has aims to reduce this to no greater than 10% through an increase in occupation by Service Personnel and a targeted disposal plan.
Mr Stone commented:
“Britain has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those fleeing conflict or persecution.
“But the Conservative government has failed to match the compassion of the British people.
“From leaving Ukrainian refugees trapped in bureaucratic limbo, to the thousands of Afghans who are still stuck in hotels, the Home Office’s record is just not good enough.
“There is a huge resource available to avoid a repeat of the scandalous treatment of Afghan refugees – to use the significant vacant housing stock owned by the Ministry of Defence.
“Of course, some the Ministry of Defence must retain a certain number of vacant Service Family Accommodation properties for operational reasons – but the department says they only need 10% of houses for this.
“So what about the other 4,000 that are sitting unoccupied, unused, and useless?
“Properties may have been vacant for up to 27 years, a phenomenal waste of good space.
“If these houses are fit-for-purpose, safe and clean, they could and should be used to house refugees who are awaiting permanent resettlement.
“With dreadful scenes in Ukraine unfolding with every passing day, the Ministry of Defence has not a moment to lose.”