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Rural housing waiting lists soar

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Nearly 700,000 people are now reported to be stuck on council housing waiting lists in rural England.

A study claims that over the last five years, the number of people waiting for an affordable home in country areas has soared by 37%, up from 507,757 in 2003 to 695,735 last year.

The report authors, National Housing Federation (NHF) and Campaign to Protect Rural England, said that, on average, 14,494 people have been added to housing waiting lists in rural areas every month over the last four years.

NHF chief executive David Orr said: “The rural housing crisis is intensifying rapidly, with more and more people being priced out of the market and having to live in cramped and unsuitable conditions.

“Without urgent action by ministers many of our villages are in danger of becoming the preserve of the rich and weekend playgrounds for second home owners, with schools, pubs and post offices at risk of closing because of a lack of customers.”

The report follows Matthew Taylor (Lib Dem), MP, report into rural economies and affordable homes in July. Mr Taylor’s review, which was commissioned by prime minister Gordon Brown, made a raft of recommendations including curbs on second home ownership.

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