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Growing shortage of social housing sparks Cannock Chase Council leader's plea to MPs

Staffordshire | News | Published:

A council leader has pleaded with the government to build more social housing in his borough, warning the area faces a housing crisis.

Cannock Chase Council leader George Adamson says a reduction in social housing rents means his council will lose £75.8million from its 30-year home building programme.

The reduction in resources mean the council can only build 113 homes out of its previously promised 168, he said.

It comes as the housing waiting list which currently stands at 1,198 is expected to continue to rise, and the council does not have the provisions to build more homes to meet the demand.

Labour's shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has echoed councillor Adamson's call for Prime Minster David Cameron's administration to build more social housing in the area.

Councillor Adamson said: "We're very worried. In 2014 the government agreed a 30-year business plan with us but after the election they reversed their policy, massively reducing the income, which means we can't build any more new council houses than the ones we have already agreed to do.

"We've got a massive housing list and it's going to get bigger and bigger and we're just not going to be able to cope with it.

"The solution lies with getting the government to build new social housing but they don't seem to want to do it. My worry is that a lot of homeless people are going to be stuck in bed and breakfasts or unsatisfactory private rented properties.

"They won't let us raise rents and that's the only way we can raise income to build new council houses, we're not allowed to use council tax to do it. The government need to reverse their policy. We have asked them but they have so far refused."

Councillor Adamson was out door knocking in Hednesford with Labour's shadow chancellor earlier this week and John McDonnell MP echoed the thoughts of the council leader.

He said: "The main problem that we're facing at the moment is that we've got a government that doesn't seem to care for areas like this. There's a housing crisis here and what we need is a government that starts building council houses again which we've got a shortage of."

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