Countryside experiencing social housing crisis

New government statistics show the number of households on local authorities' housing waiting lists in rural areas continues to increase.

Analysis of government figures, undertaken by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), has revealed that, given the current rate at which new social housing is being built in rural areas, it would take 130 years to house those on the waiting list.

Data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows that there are now 173,584 families on the waiting list for social housing in rural councils. However, just 1,336 homes for social rent were built last year in those councils’ areas. CPRE is deeply concerned that communities in market towns and villages across the country are being forgotten by central government.

Lois Lane, research and policy adviser at CPRE, said: “As social housing waiting lists continue to rise right across the country, it is clear that councils are not able to build enough to meet anyone’s needs. But our 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.

“There is a misconception that people living in the countryside don’t feel the effects of the housing crisis, but that couldn’t be further than the truth. Average house prices are higher and wages lower than in major towns and cities, and the continued failure to build enough social homes has actually made the situation especially challenging in rural communities.”

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