Council House Scandal goes to the House of Commons

George Clarke

Manchester, United Kingdom

9 MAR 2020 — 

Today I gave evidence to a cross-party group of MPs in the House of Commons about the systematic failure of the state to build homes for those most in need. This has led to the biggest housing and affordability crisis the country has ever seen.

I told the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry, set up to examine the long-term delivery of social and affordable rented housing, that we all have not just a right to adequate housing. It’s set down in international law in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Decades have passed since these laws were passed and our country has failed in these commitments.

My evidence highlighted a sorry swatch of statistics:

  • We have 350,000 homeless.
  • 100,000 of those officially homeless are children.
  • There are 1.15 million people on social housing waiting lists.
  • £9 billion a year of public money (our money!) is used to pay housing benefit to private landlords
  • And 42% of all homes sold under the Right to Buy are now in the hands of private landlords who profit massively from state built housing.

The social cost is unbelievable. Stress, worry and depression are rife across Britain due to the housing crisis. It’s equally shameful that we have 100,000 children living in temporary accommodation whose lives are in turmoil with health and education suffering in turn.

I told the panel of MPs at the House of Commons:

  • Under Harold Macmillan as Housing Minister in 1953 councils completed a staggering 198,210 homes in England. (That’s one every 2 minutes and 40 seconds).
  • In 2019, 6,287 council homes were built. That’s one every 1 hour 23 minutes and 60 seconds.

We have a shameful sign of the times and time is running out to save our council housing stock. In my evidence, I told the panel I think it is negligent and unprofessional for a housing minister to not commit to a build number for council and social housing in Britain.

The collapse of the housing system is the biggest scandal the country has ever seen.

I think this is a scandal and so do the quarter of a million people who have signed my petition to date calling for the Government to build 100,000 new Council homes every year for the next 30 years. This will help replenish the stock that has been lost under the Right to Buy.

But we need more people across the UK to support our campaign and sign our petition. We need people power. Please help us reach the half a million mark on our petition. Have you asked your family members, your friends, your neighbours, your work colleagues to sign our petition? Have you shared the link on social media?

Every signature matters to our cause – please help us end the Council House Scandal.