Up to 33 years to clear council house waiting lists

With the national waiting list reaching almost 1.8 million households, but only just over 270,000 homes let nationally last year, the average time for all councils to end their lists would be almost seven years.

Of the 355 local authorities, Barnet, in North West London, would take the longest to house everyone on its waiting list at more than 33 years, followed by Redbridge in East London at more than 32 years, and Brent on 25 years.

The housing charity has blamed the severe shortage of affordable homes, and has called on political parties to make housing a top election priority.

Caroline Davey, Shelter’s deputy director of policy and campaigns, said: "The figures clearly show the desperate lack of affordable housing throughout England, and how we are simply not building enough homes to meet the growing demand.

"The news will be a major blow to hundreds of thousands of people who may have to spend this Christmas, and many more to come, in run down or unaffordable housing, or possibly trapped in temporary or overcrowded accommodation."

The worst affected area is London, with over half (51%) of all boroughs taking more than a decade to clear their housing waiting lists on current lettings figures, with the South West second on 40%.

Davey added: "The message is, even if you’re a priority you could still be waiting years to secure a council home.

"The only way to give people hope is for all political parties to make housing a top election priority."

The council that could house everyone on its waiting list in the shortest time is Wyre, in the North West at three months, then Burnley at five months and Sunderland at just over a year. 

A full list of English local authorities and how long they would take to clear their waiting lists can be viewed on www.shelter.org.uk/waitinglists

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