Housing Minister Grant Shapps today met with leading industry figures and defence officials to discuss what more can be done to help people serving in the military get a roof over their head and a foot on the property ladder.
Mr Shapps said it is right that the brave men and women who give their all to protect our country get more assistance to find a decent home to live in - whether they are still serving or returning to life on civvy street.
Invitations were sent to key house builders, councils, lenders, defence officials and services’ charities to attend the summit, for a candid and open discussion about all the issues, including:
- a new commitment to offer priority for service personnel under the Government’s FirstBuy scheme
- tackling the barriers which can disadvantage Service or ex-Service personnel in securing a mortgage, such as difficulty with credit scoring because of service overseas or living on army bases without standard postcodes
- working with councils to encourage fairer treatment for military personnel applying to live in social housing
- ensuring national planning rules are flexible enough to allow disabled ex-servicemen to have homes that suit their needs
- working better across Government and with charities to tackle homelessness amongst ex-service personnel
- looking at how service personnel could benefit from other initiatives to help first time buyers, including privately funded shared equity schemes that cushion the cost of buying a home
- exploring what specific actions might be needed to enable more ex-service personnel to bring forward self-build housing projects; and
- working with the Ministry of Defence to ensure surplus land they release for development can be used for housing that benefits ex-service personnel.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
The brave men and women who serve in our military are heroes, who everyday make a commitment that is well beyond just coming to work and doing a job. And yet often they are the very people who struggle to get a roof over their head or fulfil their aspiration of buying their own home.
This is wrong, and we will not stand idly by and deny decent homes to the people who deserve them the most. That’s why I’m calling together key figures from across industry and the military to discuss how we can tackle this problem.
This is not about charity - it’s about duty, our duty as a nation to serve those who have put their lives on the line for the benefit of the entire country. Members of our armed forces don’t want our sympathy or a hand out, just a chance. They have answered the call of duty, and now we must hear their call.
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