By Julie Douglas
A FURIOUS Royal Marine and Afghanistan veteran has written to David Cameron demanding to know why he faces homelessness when he leaves the forces this year.
Michael Glen, who has done two tours of duty in Afghanistan, is outraged that criminals released from prison have greater rights to housing than many veterans.
The 30-year-old father of three from East Lothian is estranged from his wife and volunteering to leave the Army so council chiefs say he will not qualify for a home.
They have told the proud member of 45 Commando, based at Arbroath, the only way to get a roof over his head is to book in to a homeless hostel on leaving the forces.
Marine Glen, who has served for eight years, wants to quit to spend more time with his three children.
Backed by local politicians Iain Gray MSP and MP Fiona O’Donnell, the soldier has written a bitter letter of complaint to Number 10.
Marine Glen states in his letter: “I have been on two operational tours of Afghanistan, risking my life daily avoiding bombs and bullets.
“This is why I am leaving. I have three kids to support and I can’t do that from a grave.”
He told the Prime Minister: “Because I am volunteering to leave, the local council say they have no requirement to house me.”
He concluded: “I feel strongly that this is absolutely disgusting – risk your life or be homeless.”
When Marine Glen met with East Lothian Council housing officials last month, he was told he would only have enough points to qualify for a home if he booked himself into a homeless hostel when he left the service.
He told a local newspaper: “I was informed if I had come out of prison, I would be awarded 80 points and if I was homeless, I would be awarded a further 100 points.
“I was awarded no points for any service in the Royal Marines and was informed that had I been made redundant, I would have been given four points for each year’s service.”
He says he can’t understand why being made redundant would give him the same rights as someone being released from prison.
He returned from his last six-month tour in Afghanistan in October, and he says it was during this time he decided to leave the forces.
“When I was in Afghanistan I thought I had had enough, I wanted to try something else,” he said.
“I never would have thought in a million years I would have to stay in a doss house after I left the marines.
Marine Glen, originally from Edinburgh, wants to settle in Prestonpans to be close to his estranged wife and three children, Daniel, 3, Rachel, five months, and Daniel, 11, from a previous relationship.
He said: “This is where I want to live, especially with the kids being so young.I think it is important to know that I am close by.
“I’ve got no idea what I’m going to do. I’ve been applying to lots of jobs.
“My family are glad I’m leaving. My kids are missing me,” he said.
Marine Glen said he wrote to the Prime Minister out of sheer frustration as he was getting nowhere with the council.
He said: “David Cameron has made an awful lot of promises about making sure people in the forces aren’t homeless. That’s why I thought I’d write to him.”
East Lothian MP Fiona O’Donnell said: “It seems heartless to me that East Lothian Council is ignoring Michael’s record of service to his country and his wish to be nearer to his family.
“It simply isn’t good enough.
“I want the Prime Minister to intervene personally in this case and show us that he is serious about looking after our veterans.”
MSP Ian Grey said: “The council claim to provide extra support for veterans , and they should not be quibbling about why he is leaving the Forces.
“Eight years service is eight years service and he should think again.”
An East Lothian Council spokeswoman said: “In the event of any applicant not being able to secure alternative accommodation prior to leaving HM Forces’ they would be offered homeless advice and assistance.
“There are a number of options currently available besides council housing and temporary accommodation, including improved access to private rented accommodation through the council’s Rent Deposit Scheme and shared ownership opportunities via out housing association partners.”
The spokeswoman said Forces staff who volunteered to leave the service were not entitled to Loss of Service points to help them resettle.
Downing Street said it was not able to comment on correspondence received by the Prime Minister.