§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much furniture was purchased by his Ministry for the Armed Forces in 1974–75 and 1975–76; and how much he estimates will be purchased in 1976–77;
(2) how many beds, bunk beds and wardrobes were purchased by his Ministry for use by the Armed Forces during 1974–75 and 1975–76; how many he estimates will be purchased during 1976–77; how many were sold by his Ministry because they were surplus to the Armed Forces' requirements during the same 397W years; and how many of those sold had been used and how many had only been stored;
(3) how much furniture was sold as surplus to the requirements of the Armed Forces in 1974–75 and 1975–76, and how much he estimates will be sold in 1976–77;
(4) to whom surplus furniture from the Armed Forces is sold; and at what depots these sales take place.
§ Mr. Wellbeloved,
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 28th June 1976, Vol. 914, c. 20], gave the following information:—
The following amounts of furniture were purchased by the Defence Accommodation Stores Organisation during 1974–75 and 1975–76, and are estimated for purchase during 1976–77:
1974–75 … … … £6.7 million 1975–76 … … … £14.6 million 1976–77 … … … £17.3 million
1974–75 1975–76 1976–77 Headboards 2 feet 6 inches 37,000 50,000 3,900 Bedsprings 3 feet Nil 5,300 10,200 Head ends 3 feet with fitment Nil 8,400 10,700 Foot end 3 feet Nil 6,200 12,100 Head end 3 feet without fitment 50 50 50 Bedspring 4 feet 6 inches Nil 800 3,000 Head end 4 feet 6 inches without fitment Nil 8,500 4,000 Foot end bedstead 4 feet 6 inches Nil 800 3,200 Bedspring divan complete with legs 4 feet 6 inches 1,600 10,500 5,800 Head end 4 feet 6 inches with fitment Nil 1,400 3,000 Bedsprings 2 feet 6 inches 72,000 Nil 25,500 Bedspring divan 2 feet 6 inches Nil 24,600 10,900 Wardrobes 31,100 23,200 17,200
No bunk beds were purchased during this time. The approximate numbers of beds, bunk beds and wardrobes sold in 1974–75 and 1975–76 were as follows:
1974–75 1975–76 Beds … 17,000 25,000 Bunk Beds … 1,500 1,300 Wardrobes … 13,000 21,000
Since only obsolescent styles of furniture have been authorised for disposal, and since the current range of furniture for married quarters was introduced over 10 years ago, and the new range of furniture for single accommodation four years ago, it is unlikely that many items of obsolescent furniture would have been sold in an unused condition. A few items may have been held in store, or in reserve, and then included in some disposal sales. Any such quantity must, 398W The amounts received from or estimated to be received from the sale of furniture during the corresponding years were:
£0.4 million £0.5 million £0.5 million
These transactions arise on the one hand from programmes for improving the furnishing of barrack rooms for single ratings, soldiers and airmen, now nearing completion, and for replacing obsolescent furniture in married quarters and single officers' and non-commissioned officers' accommodation; and on the other hand from the disposal of obsolescent furniture made surplus by the improvement schemes and from the closures, particularly of RAF stations, arising from the defence review.
Beds are purchased in component parts, some of which are common to more than one type of bed. The following quantities of bed components and wardrobes, all of which are of the current design, were purchased for delivery during 1974–75 and 1975–76 and estimated for delivery during 1976–77:
however, be small, and is impossible to quantify.
Surplus furniture is normally sold by public auction or competitive tendering, and the buyers include Service men and their families, dealers who purchase bulk quantities and individual members of the public. A few private treaty sales have been negotiated with dealers in special circumstances, for example, when urgent clearance of a Depot was required.
Sales of furniture have been made from over 100 sites including Royal Navy storehouses, Royal Army Ordnance Corps depots and Royal Air Force maintenance units and stations.