Isobel Stokes, Paralegal in the Military team discusses the failings of the Ministry of Defence to provide quality homes for serving personnel in the military.
Military accommodation has been long underfunded, resulting in almost nine thousand complaints of severe rot, mould, broken doors, and leaking roofs since 2021. However, families suing the Ministry of Defence over their living conditions say they are being harassed into dropping their claims or having their pay docked to cover the legal costs.
The Guardian reports on one wife of a serving sailor in the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, who has lived with leaks and rot for two and a half years due to a severe “lack of coordination” between the company taking the reports and the company doing the repairs.
However, instead of upholding their promise to give serving families the quality homes they deserve, the Ministry of Defence and their lawyers have been exploiting the cost-of-living crisis and the threat of further financial pain to keep compensation cases out of court.
In a letter, a government lawyer acting for Treasury Department counsel wrote: “If you disagree and put us through the trouble and expense of a contested application, we will recover the Defence Department fees. Please reply no later than 4:00 pm on Monday, October 3, 2022.”
Letters like the one above shows that instead of fixing the problem, the Ministry of Defence is turning to intimidation tactics to stifle claims. This is a far cry from the treatment fit for forces personnel and their families.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said they were working to make “rapid and sustained improvements to the service received by families.” However, at no point should families have to face docked pay or go to court to have basic repairs done. There are deep flaws in the system and the Government should do more to ensure that complaints are sorted, and military personnel have homes they are happy to live in.
At Hugh James, we work closely with veterans’ charities and understand the stress that poor housing conditions can have on service personnel and their families.