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Heating outages at military bases triple in a year as ministers accused of 'neglect'

HMS Collingwood (pictured) was among the bases affected
HMS Collingwood (pictured) was among the bases affected - Getty Images

Heating and hot water outages at military bases have almost tripled in the past year, new figures show amid accusations that the Government has “neglected the basics”.

Almost 5,000 incidents were recorded across nine military bases in 2023, with fewer than two in five of those being solved within the target of 12 hours.

Figures released in response to written parliamentary questions tabled by Labour showed 4,982 incidents of heating or hot water loss, the equivalent to 96 a week.

This is almost three times the equivalent figures that were released in 2022, when an average of 35 incidents were recorded every week.

Bases that were affected include HMS Collingwood, the Royal Navy’s largest training centre, as well as the Royal Marines’ Commando Training Centre in Lymestone, Devon and Catterick garrison in North Yorkshire, which is the British Army’s biggest base.

The figures also show that just 38 per cent of heating loss incidents last year were resolved in 12 hours, the target that has been set by ministers for single living accommodation.

Luke Pollard, the shadow armed forces minister, said: “Ministers have neglected the basics for a good life in the forces. The last 14 Conservative years have corroded the nation’s contract with those who serve.

“Personnel are living in damp and mouldy housing, morale has fallen by a third to almost 40 per cent and retention rates are dropping.”

Mr Pollard vowed that a Labour government would ensure “homes fit for heroes” as part of a wider push to tackle the current state of serving accommodation.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said quality services accommodation is “a personal priority” of Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, and noted the Government is introducing minimum standards to ensure this, spending more than £4bn in the next decade.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The provision of good quality accommodation for Service personnel is a key priority. This is why we have introduced our New Accommodation Offer, which is centred around our people and will improve standards in Single Living Accommodation (SLA) across the estate.

“A Defence minimum standard has been established and all SLA is expected to meet.

“We plan to invest around £5.3 billion over the next 10 years to ensure these improvements are prioritised.”