Call for new homes as waiting list soar

CHARITY bosses have called for more new homes after it emerged people on waiting lists in Suffolk has soared in the last ten years.According to figures from Shelter there were 17,679 waiting for council homes in 2006, compared to 12,503 ten years before (a rise of 41.

CHARITY bosses have called for more new homes after it emerged people on waiting lists in Suffolk has soared in the last ten years.

According to figures from Shelter there were 17,679 waiting for council homes in 2006, compared to 12,503 ten years before (a rise of 41.4pc).

Adam Sampson, chief executive of homeless charity Shelter, said the government faces a tough challenge if it is going to tackle the problem.

He said: “Council housing waiting lists in the east of England are rising at a shocking rate and show that since the Labour Government took power ten years ago it has simply not done enough to tackle the chronic shortage of social homes in the region.

“More and more ordinary families are suffering in cramped conditions or trapped in temporary accommodation whilst they wait sometimes as long as 20 years for a decent home to bring up their children.”

In Suffolk, the area that has seen the largest increase of people on the council house waiting list is St Edmundsbury, with 4,673 at the end of last year compared to 2,241 in 1997 (a rise of 70.5pc).

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Steve Cook, chief executive of Havbury Housing Partnership in St Edmundsbury, said the rise was partly down to high house prices and the fact that first time buyers could no longer get on the property ladder.

“In the past these people may have bought but they are now turning to social housing,” he said. “We are working very hard to change the situation and we are making progress.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said they were on course to deliver the target of 30,000 social rented homes a year by 2007/08.

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