Gordon MacDonald, an SNP MSP, has written to Gavin Williamson after figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request found that the number of vacant MoD properties in Scotland has increased from 690 in 2013 to 1136.

In the letter to the secretary of state, the SNP Edinburgh Pentlands representative called on the MoD to help homeless veterans. The letter, as reported here, states:

“The risk of homelessness is all too common among veterans, some of whom will struggle to adapt to civilian life or may suffer from mental illness such as PTSD.

The Scottish Government is stepping up actions to tackle homelessness – driving forward a number of activities to specifically address veterans’ homelessness. Over the past eight years there has been a 39% reduction in homeless applications in Scotland.

Recent figures show that 1136 properties, owned by the Ministry of Defence, currently sit empty in Scotland – a staggering rise from 690 vacant homes in 2013. While I understand some of these properties are in need of modernisation or have structural damage, many are considered ‘surplus’ and could be used as housing for veterans on their route to a permanent tenancy.

The Ministry of Defence has a duty of care to help those who have served – I believe it is time to bring this vacant housing into use for the public good.”

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Cam Hunter

But we might need these houses for when the army gets up to its full strength! If it ever will again. And housing for 1000 isn’t exactly lots now is it!…

Lee H

Morning all You have to remember the goal of what was the DHE is to release as many homes as possible back to the market so Annington Homes (or which ever company now manages them) can sell them. This has been going on since the early 2000’s, what the MSP should be looking st is the quality of the housing stock held by the MoD (not just the new housing being built around the Bulford/Salisbury Plain area) and making sure that military families are living in accommodation that is fit for purpose. Putting homeless veterans into empty MQ’s doesn’t solve… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Lee.

And good to see you are still lurking and comment occasionally.

Lee H

Hi Daniele
Always reading, keeping up to date – more comments to follow but in this subject it annoys when elected officials whether through ingnorance or ego don’t fully understand what they are saying other than to get a letter published. Just because an MSP can read and quote statistics doesn’t mean they understand this issue.

andy reeves



i have to agree with you Lee,when i was serving and you got your pay,all your food accommodation etc was taken out before you got it,i would be responsible for my other finances ie car loan insurance etc,but i knew blokes who used to struggle but they could go down to the pay office who would look and help you out of a situation,like many other issues besides pay etc,then once your out of the military it,s like being hit in the face with a brick,trying to even find any sort of advice can be a minefield on it,s own… Read more »

andy reeves

another wonderful ex forces charity i’d recommend is ‘combat stress’ operated by ex forces and highly qualified medical practitioners of all types of specialisms

Lee H

Hi Andy
It tells you something that charities need to pick up the slack due to the dereliction of duty of government in support of those who have served.

The purchase of new toys is one thing, it grabs the news and gets a politician in the paper – care of those that have served on the other hand…..


Indeed, and they wonder why they have problems with recruitment.


There was a TV program on this maybe in the last month or two, showing how some were not just in bad repair, but vandalised as well. Can’t remember much about it, it was on in the background. Seems to me the total numbers aren’t the important thing, it’s where they are. I’d guess some vacant ones would be in amongst occupied ones, clearly the MOD would want to keep them, and they might be in better repair. But some could be in areas that are totally unoccupied, and even then they are both an asset and a liability to… Read more »


i know years ago loads of married quarters were sold off at catterick for peanuts,now they are crying out for married quarters as catterick has become the UK,s biggest base,seems the left hand does not know what the right is doing

Lee H

Evening all Many thanks for the comments above, all showing a great interest in the plight that, whilst a sad indictment on the way we treat our veterans, only gets brought up when a website publishes a letter from an MSP trying to score some political points (however honourably the intent of the letter was meant). Military training is designed to take individuals from all walks of life and mould them into instruments of policy regardless of background, educational standard, creed, colour or beliefs. The military provide an environment that allows HMG to get the most out of each individual… Read more »


Lee “an MSP trying to score some political points”. LOL.

What else are all politicians of any flavour of politics for?

They can still do some good all the same, even if accidentally.


i think all politicians should do a period of military service of some extent,that way the idiots may well understand how the military operate and also make sure all ex forces are looked after,i served for 15 years and in a way lucky yes i was diagnosed with PTSD after the mess of Bosnia,as well as live training incidents i have been fortunate in some ways where i have been able to get some help and support,but people have come back from iraq and afghan and got absolutely got sod all help or advice,or anything just a go on then… Read more »


How many local authority houses are lying empty in Scotland? If the SNP are so anxious about ex service personnel could some of these not be used? Just asking.