One in 10 Armed Forces heroes waits more than five years for social housing – triggering fresh calls to tackle delays.
MPs begin detailed scrutiny of the Government's Armed Forces Bill, which will include moves to boost troops' welfare when they are serving and have returned to civvy street, on Thursday.
But Labour research has found the proportion of “service population and families”, which includes those who are serving or have served, waiting more than five years for social housing has risen to almost 11% – which is 4% higher than the general population.
Those waiting between six months and a year hit 17.4%, which is 5% higher than the general population.
Both figures for waits by current and former personnel are the highest for at least four years.
Shadow Armed Forces Minister Stephen Morgan said: "It's completely unacceptable that Service heroes face extended waits for social housing.
“Ministers must take responsibility and provide the resources necessary to help councils deliver on the promises of the Armed Forces Covenant.
“This data reveals yet another way in which the Government fails to meet commitments to our Armed Forces, who serve our country with courage and distinction.
“The Armed Forces Bill is a shameful attempt to outsource the delivery of the Covenant, piling unclear legal responsibilities onto councils with no new resource to meet them.
“Labour will challenge the Government to take responsibility for the welfare of our service personnel and improve housing standards to make sure our Armed Forces have a roof over their head.”
Some 54.6% of servicemen and women wait less than six months for social housing – the lowest figure for at least four years, according to the latest Armed Forces Covenant Annual report.
While the Covenant is not a legal document, its key principles were enshrined in law in the Armed Forces Act 2011.
The legislation means the Defence Secretary must report to Parliament annually on progress made by the Government in honouring the Covenant.
The Government says of its pledge to servicemen and women: “The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.”
Defence Minister Johnny Mercer said: “The Armed Forces Bill is designed to ensure our personnel are supported in their local communities which is the minimum they deserve for defending our country.
“Data clearly shows that it’s not true that service personnel and their families wait longer for social housing than civilians and we continually work with local authorities to improve access.”