Across England as a whole there are 1,543,509 households on the 2005 Local Authority Register waiting for a home. This is an increase of approximately 450,000 on the figure for 2002. In fact the numbers waiting add up to 38.2% of the total council and housing association stock. In five areas of England the numbers on the housing waiting list exceed the social housing stock in the area. The figures for all 354 areas in England are available at www.gmb.org.uk
A further 77 areas of England have numbers on the waiting list that equate to half or more of the total number of council or housing association homes in the area.
These figures are contained in a GMB report on social housing need presented today to delegates to the GMB's Food and Leisure Section Conference 2006 in Brighton. The data is from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (see notes 1 to 3).The GMB Food and Leisure Section covers employees in the retail sector such as ASDA shops and depots, warehouses, hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs, and casinos. Many of these workers are paid the National Minimum Wage (note 4) and are dependant on social housing to accommodate their families as home ownership is out of the question.
Paul Kenny, GMB acting general secretary said, 'GMB has long argued that the only way to reduce the number of households waiting for social housing is to allow local councils to build council housing for rent. GMB also want to see an end to the policy of moving up social housing rents up to the level of private sector housing rents.
'It is a complete fallacy to expect private house builders to meet the demand for low cost housing. Workers in low paid sectors of the economy need affordable homes in their local areas. The Labour government must reverse the Tory government's policy of ending the building of council houses. This demand is increasingly urgent.'
1 Data source: Total households on the Local Authority register of applications for 'social rented housing' - 1st April 2005. Crown Copyright Reserved. Source: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The figures are supplied by Local Authorities.
2 When local authorities are compiling the figures they need to be aware that the housing register should only include those households in priority need and not in priority need. Households looking for transfers within an authority's stock should not be included.
3 Some authorities are already involving the private rented sector in their Choice Based Letting scheme and although these figures should not be included it is clear in some cases that they are. Journalists need to check with the relevant housing departments to see if they have filled in the HSSA (Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix) correctly.
4 The National Minimum Wage is currently£5.05 per hour.