New government statistics show the number of households on local authorities’ housing waiting lists in rural areas continues to increase.
A Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) analysis of new government data, published on 24 January, has revealed it would take 133 years to house those on the waiting list, given the current rate at which new social housing is being built in rural areas.
The countryside charity fears the lack of focus on the housing needs of people in rural areas is fuelling a particular crisis in the countryside.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) data show there are now 177,688 families on the waiting list for social housing in rural councils. Yet last year, just 1,336 homes for social rent were built in those councils’ areas.
CPRE is ‘deeply concerned’ that communities in market towns and villages across the country are being forgotten by central government.
With social housing waiting lists continuing to rise right across the country, it’s clear that councils are not able to build enough to meet anyone’s needs.
But Lois Lane, research and policy adviser at CPRE, said the charity’s analysis shows ‘a clear disparity in focus and funding that has left a large number of rural communities suffering silently, and in real danger of being left behind.’
Lois said that there is a misconception that people living in the countryside don’t feel the effects of the housing crisis, adding that couldn’t be further from the truth’.
‘Average house prices are higher and wages lower than in major towns and cities’, she said, ‘and the continued failure to build enough social homes has actually made the situation especially challenging in rural communities.’
Following the publication of these figures, CPRE is calling for further substantial investment in social housebuilding for rural areas from the government, with a proportion of grant funding for use in rural areas to be ring-fenced in line with the proportion of the population living there.
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