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YOUNG ADMITS MORE WORK NEEDED ON EMPTY PROPERTIES

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Housing minister Sir George Young has welcomed yesterday's report which found that one in 20 homes in England are n...
Housing minister Sir George Young has welcomed yesterday's report which found that one in 20 homes in England are now empty, The Independent reports (p5).

'Empty properties are wasted properties,' he said. 'They can and should be made available to meet housing need.'

Despite existing incentive grants, more needed to be done, Sir George was reported as saying.

The report was drawn up by the Empty Homes Agency on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Trust.

It found that with 1.9% oF homes empty 'councils are England's least wasteful landlords.

'However, the generally good record of local authorities could improve still further if some of the London councils with as much as 9.2% of their properties standing empty were able to put more of this stock back to use.'

Local authorities have reduced their stock of empty homes from 114,000 in 1983 to 70,000 last year, while the number of empty in the private sector rose by nearly a third to 764,000.

The Empty Homes Agency called on councils to develop 'empty property strategies' and examine vacant homes in all sectors in their areas.

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