While £1m homes go to asylum seekers, a soldier who lost three limbs serving his country is put in a tiny flat … on the SIXTH floor

Private Stringer, of 23 Pioneer Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, had more than 30 operations after losing both legs, shattering his pelvis and suffering injuries so severe that his left arm had to be amputated at the elbow while serving in Afghanistan. Now Private Alex Stringer is fighting another battle back home – against a housing allocation that has left him trapped in a tiny sixth floor flat.

As some families living solely on benefits are housed in multi-million-pound properties, the 20-year-old struggles in a flat so small he says he is unable to use his wheelchair indoors. He cannot get into the kitchen or his daughter’s bedroom, and when the lifts for the building breakdown, he has no way of entering or leaving his home in Chadwell St Mary, Essex.

In contrast, a family of refugees from Afghanistan lived in a £1.2million, seven-bedroom London mansion paid for by an astonishing £3,000 a week in housing benefits.

He still spends three weeks every two months at the Army’s rehabilitation centre in Headley Court, Surrey, and struggles at home with fiancée Danielle Taylor, 19, and daughters Millie, three, and Harlie-Rose, one this month.

Private Stringer who was told by Thurrock Council there is a five-year waiting list for a more suitable home said: ‘I knew the risks when I signed up and I have no complaints about what happened to me or the Army. ‘I want to be independent again. I rely on Danielle and friends for everything. It’s demoralising.’

His plight will be considered by many to be a clear breach of the Military Covenant – enshrined in law in July – under which the Army can expect to be provided with adequate housing.

Last night Conservative MP Patrick Mercer said of Private Stringer’s situation: ‘[He] deserves much better treatment than this. I wonder how this accommodation compares to other council tenants who have not risked their lives in the service of their country?’

Private Stringer’s living conditions contrast sharply with those of the Afghan family whose controversial living arrangement, which first made headlines in 2008, led to an overhaul of the housing benefits system.
Toorpakai Saiedi and her family – granted leave to remain in Britain after claiming asylum – lived in a series of large properties, all paid for by local authorities, including the seven-bedroom home in Acton, West London.

It’s easy to complain of broken Britain but this one falls firmly at the feet of government and the MOD.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence added: ‘The MoD works closely with injured personnel to ensure that they can obtain accommodation which meets their specific needs.’

Well MoD, you’re clearly not trying hard enough if this is the best you can do for this soldier injured whilst serving his country as this accommodation is a million miles from his specific needs. You’re taking the money – It’s about time you did the job!

And to the Government, I accept your requirement to provide shelter for refugees who are granted asylum but surely not at the expense of men like Private Stringer? If anyone in the real world were so bad at their job they’d be summarily dismissed! I think it’s time to stop talking and start doing don’t you?