30 Dec 2009

6.05 years to clear housing waiting lists

Shelter have released details of the housing waiting list at every local authority in the country, and calculated how long it would take for them to clear the backlog (using the number of lettings made - by housing associations and local authorities - to new tenants) - Stroud has 2559 on housing waiting list with 6.05 years to clear it's list (see Shelter here).

News from the Government about a council-house building programme is most welcomed - and about time too!

The Prime Minister has promised Treasury rules that prevent councils building will be relaxed to allow councils to borrow more money for construction and to keep the proceeds from rents and sales. This will hopefully mean good news for all those who live in poor and overcrowded conditions, those sofa-surfing and of course street homeless people. There is a wealth of evidence that demonstrates that building new homes puts people back to work in substantial numbers more quickly than any other major industry and the government gets back at least 50p in every pound it invests in the housing programme through benefits not paid and income tax and national insurance collected.

Will Stroud go down this route and build homes? It is too early to say but any new council homes should also be part of a wider package. The Government must also:

• Stop council house sales
• Introduce first-time buyer grants, which could help revive the private housing market and would also be available to private sector tenants who receive no help at present
• Make extra efforts to bring empty homes into use
• Support councils who want to set up their own building companies to build new homes
• Ensure all the new homes are energy and water efficient

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