The shortage of council housing in Swindon is reflected by the number of lettings in 2017/18. For ‘general needs’ council housing (excluding elderly people’s accommodation and other ‘supported housing’) only 356 tenancies were granted. Of these 164 were given to existing tenants, so only 192 tenancies were given to people new to ‘social housing’.
In ‘supported housing’ 152 tenancies were granted, of which only 75 were new tenants.
The council’s housing list includes a transfer list of people who want or need to move. This might be to downsize to avoid the ‘bedroom tax’, children leaving home, relationships breaking up, elderly people wishing to leave a larger family home, people needing accommodation adapted for disabilities, wheelchair access etc. In October there were 720 households on the transfer list, 232 of whom were 60 plus.
Overall there were 2,946 households on the waiting list in October. This number does not reflect the scale of need since the council has made changes to the list which has discouraged people from applying.
Giving out tenancies at an annual rate of 267 (if you combine ‘general needs’ and ‘supported housing’) gives an indication of how long people are likely to have to wait.
STCG Secretary Martin Wicks said:
“The small number of people who get new council tenancies reflects the acute shortage of council housing in Swindon. Despite the growth of the town we have around 200 less council homes than in 2010. New council building is not even keeping up with the loss of homes through Right to Buy.
Recently the Housing Minister Kit Malthouse admitted that there were not enough new ‘social rent’ homes being built, but the government has offered no grant to councils to build new council homes with council rents.
Without a large scale council house building programme the housing crisis will be protracted and the many people who cannot afford a mortgage will continue to be forced to rent in the expensive private rented sector.”
1) There are currently 10,287 council homes in Swindon. In 2010 it was 10,490.
2) In the year to March 2018 even the cheapest (lower quartile) rent for a room in a shared house in Swindon was £440 pcm and for a one bedroom property £550. The Local Housing Allowance for a single person under 35 is £276.03 a month.
Media Release: Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
December 4th 2018