British soldiers are living in barracks which are not fit for animals according to a Tory MP, following a leaked report about fire safety.
Budget cuts have led to an “unacceptable degradation” of army barracks, according to the Defence Safety Authority (DSA) document obtained by The Sun newspaper.
The DSA has warned that the likelihood of a fire resulting in “significant loss of life, loss of capability and damage to defence’s reputation will remain high” without investment in safety.
According to the newspaper, the most senior civil servant at the MoD has “apparently failed to comply with an official Improvement Notice slapped on him over safety standards”.
According to a senior defence source quoted by The Sun, the fire warnings in the report have been covered up.
They warned: “Young soldiers are going to burn to death in their beds.
“Everybody knows that it won’t be long before things get so bad that people are killed.
“That’s why no senior civil servant wants his name on the door when it happens.
“It’s sheer cowardice and a betrayal of every man and woman serving in uniform.”
Responding to the claims, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that all of its buildings met fire safety regulations and it was spending £4bn to modernise its sites around the UK.
However, former army officer and Conservative MP, Johnny Mercer – who also sits on the defence committee – said: “Animals would not be housed in such dangerous conditions.
“It is disgraceful how ministers talk up our armed forces at every opportunity, and yet, away from the spotlight, ask our most loyal public servants to endure totally unacceptable and lethal living environments,” Mr Mercer added.
He said that he would be calling for the defence secretary to defend the situation before the defence committee when parliament returned.
A spokesperson for the ministry said: “All occupied buildings owned by the MoD meet national building and fire regulations and we regularly inspect our sites to ensure they meet safety standards.
“We are making improvements to fire safety across our sites, including bolstering our resources for fire assurance.”