Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Thursday, 9 April 2009 13:29 UK

Homes help for injured servicemen

Social housing in South London
All war zone personnel should get housing priority, the Tories say

Seriously injured ex-servicemen and women are to be given priority for specially adapted social homes.

Housing Minister Iain Wright has ordered local councils to treat injured service personnel as a priority when allocating modified housing.

The adapted homes have walk-in baths, wider door frames and entry slopes rather than steps and other features.

The Tories say all personnel returning from war zones should be given priority on housing waiting lists.

The new government guidance to local authorities will stress that all members of the Armed Forces can apply for social housing in areas in which they were based during their service.

Previously, service personnel were restricted by the need to demonstrate a local connection beyond having served there.

Mr Wright said: "We are determined to ensure our armed forces are recognised for their heroic efforts and helped in their transition to civilian life and getting a home."

But his Conservative shadow, Grant Shapps, said Labour had been slow to prioritise housing for ex-service personnel.

He said: "We believe that all soldiers returning from war zones should be given priority on the housing waiting lists. The Government have been slow to address this issue.

"These are brave men and women who have fought for our freedom and liberty and it shouldn't require them to be injured in order for them to avoid homelessness."

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