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
The political and economic manipulation of housing waiting lists is a crime against working people. It must be fully exposed for what it is an attempt by Labour, Tory and Lib Dem councils to cover up for an increasingly oppressive central government, that is punishing working people for the broken housing market, wrecked by bankers, the Treasury and the Bank of England’s bailout of failed financiers. More and more working people are being forced by this mode of exploitation into the hands of rogue landlords. But the evidence is increasingly pointing to the source of the housing crisis in which rogue social landlords, council’s and Housing Associations are feeding an epidemic of homelessness and destitution. Please send a speaker to our film on Tuesday 11th December Edge Cafe CB1 3DF, showing how this works, in our campaign to save the homes of Cambridge working people at Montreal Square. Your principled work on the debt campaign (Cambridge is chained to a £214 million historic debt, not to including all the other debts and repayments, interest and derivative deals ) has done much to expose the crimes against workers homes and it now looks as if Labour may be listening (https://twitter.com/debtresistuk?lang=en) and twittering on your advice given years ago. Whether they will actually carry out the debt cancellation is another thing. The Social Landlords in Cambridge, under the watch of a Labour Council are grabbing land, transferring it and up to their necks in debt leveraged transactions that has and will continue to chain workers living in public housing for years to come. It must stop. There is a whole chunk of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 on the punishment of Rogue Private Landlords but nothing on rogue Social Landlords – they are getting away with murder. Their crimes against workers homes must stop now.