You could blow me down with a feather – a decrease in social housing leads to lengthening housing waiting lists!

There is a report out today that shows the obvious: that those areas that those areas with disproportionate decreases in social housing have the fastest growing housing waiting lists.

The report by Inside Housing is based on an analysis of figures provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

In many areas waiting lists have reduced. Surely this must be good news.  The government think so, even suggesting it is evidence of the success of the Bedroom Tax.

The DCLG said: “Council housing waiting lists have dropped by more than a third across England since 2012. With council housing starts now at the highest level for more than 20 years and local authorities having nearly £6bn of housing reserves and borrowing headroom, they’re well placed to build the homes their communities need.”

It would, indeed, be good news if more homes had been built, if people had been housed, and if there was less need. Of course the opposite is true.  Fewer homes have been built, fewer people have been housed, and need has increased.

So how can waiting lists have reduced? By a slight of hand. Waiting lists have been reduced by removing people from the lists.  The Localism Act 2011 gives councils powers to remove applicants. An Inside Housing investigation in 2014 showed more than 100,000 had been struck off.

Thank goodness we have a magazine like Inside Housing to dig, question, research and analyse.  Afterall we wouldn’t want to become like the United States has become since Friday, where government relies of “different facts” or as some people might call it, “lies”.


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