Government rescue deal under-utilised in areas with long waiting lists
Landlords in hardest pressed areas snap up just 18 unsold homes
Social landloards in the 20 areas with the longest social housing waiting lists bought just 18 homes between them through the government’s £200 million rescue package.
Government figures have revealed that providers in just four of the local authority areas with the greatest need for social homes have bought any stock at all through the national clearing house programme, set up in May to allow providers to buy up private developers’ unsold stock.
A total of 1,531 homes have been bought across England as part of the £200 million scheme, the figures show. But of these just 18 were in the 20 areas with the highest percentage of households waiting for a social home - only four of these areas have bought any homes at all.
Seven homes were bought in Bolton, where 23 per cent of households are on the waiting list for social housing. Six have been bought in Middlesbrough, three in Lewisham and two in Mansfield.
But none have been bought in Sheffield, where 40 per cent are on the waiting list, or in Brent, London.
Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson Sarah Teather said the government should do more to allow councils to borrow and invest in social housing. ‘It’s little wonder that some of the hardest hit areas are the least able to take advantage of the scheme. Unfortunately, it’s struggling families facing the threat of repossession and homelessness who will pay the price.’
A Communities and Local Government department spokesperson said there were more deals in the pipeline to buy up homes ‘at the right prices in the right places’.