THE Ministry of Defence has pledged to "carefully consider" a National Audit Office report on its single living accommodation provision.

In a new report, the NAO said the MoD was failing to meet its commitment to provide all armed forces service personnel with high-quality subsidised accommodation.

Some said the accommodation was failing to meet basic needs, with common problems being the lack of heating and hot water, limited storage space, poor or expensive wi-fi, and a lack of cooking facilities.

Gareth Davies, the NAO head, said: "Decades of under-investment has left many of the barracks where members of our armed forces live in a poor state.

"Problems with heating and hot water are not conditions that they should have to tolerate.

"It is encouraging that more focus has been given to Single Living Accommodation since 2018, but the improvements will take time to have an effect. MoD needs to get this right if it is to retain service personnel in the long term."

The MoD said it is investing more than £200 million in an upgrade programme for service family and single living accommodation.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the massive investment in July last year, with a further £2 billion investment in SLA new-build and upgrade projects planned over the next decade.

The MoD said: “Our armed forces personnel are at the heart of everything we do and it is only right they are provided good quality and affordable living accommodation.

“We have invested £1.2 billion over the last decade on construction and upgrades of our accommodation and continue to invest in a range of new-build and renovation projects.

“We thank the NAO for their report and will carefully consider their recommendations.”

The defence estate provides service personnel and their families with subsidised accommodation in recognition of their inherently mobile lifestyles and remote bases.

Since 2002, the MoD has constructed and upgraded more than 52,000 SLA bed-spaces, of which 22,800 were delivered under Project SLAM at a cost in excess of £1.2 billion and around 4,000 have been delivered so far as part of the Army Basing Programme.

During 2018/19 and 2019/20 around 2,350 new SLA bed-spaces were created at Poole, Salisbury Plain, Worthy Down and Wyton.

An additional £78 million will be invested in both training estate accommodation and SLA between now and 2022.

Of this, £40 million will be invested in upgrading SLA across the defence estate, including seven new accommodation units at Knook Camp near Warminster.

The NAO said satisfaction with army SLA had declined, with some 29 per cent saying it was influencing their decision to leave.

At October 31 2020, 79,963 service personnel, around 52 per cent of the total armed forces, occupied SLA. At this date, around half of SLA residents lived in ‘good' SLA (Grade 1 and 2), but 36 per cent lived in poorer grade accommodation (Grade 4 or below).

In addition, around two-fifths of SLA buildings are more than 40 years old, although the MoD has confirmed that all SLA was built in compliance with the standards applicable at the time of construction.