3rd January 2012
Maidstone Greens have warned of ‘housing chaos’ in the borough as housing waiting lists will shoot up from their already record high level following the introduction of further housing benefits changes yesterday and the latest intention to end subletting.
Last year the social housing waiting list in Maidstone rose to 3,442(1) – a record level, 4.5 times higher than in 1997 and the research by the Chartered Institute of Housing (2) suggests that between 1,000 and 2,500 people across the borough will lose out through the housing benefit changes, potentially increasing the social housing waiting list by a further 50%.
While Maidstone Greens do not condone the practice of subletting, plans to make it a criminal offence(3) for the estimated 160,000 people who do this across the country will also potentially mean that a further 160,000 need to find accommodation, adding to the housing crisis.
Stuart Jeffery, Maidstone Green Party: “ The government is building towards housing chaos rather than building good quality affordable homes. In Maidstone we could see huge rises on top of the record levels of people on the waiting list for social housing with the increasingly draconian approach to housing benefit and social housing.
”The new research by the Chartered Institute of Housing shows that up to 2500 people across the borough will face housing benefit cuts pushing poorer people into increasing poverty and potentially adding them to the ridiculously high waiting list for social housing.
”Making subletting a criminal offence might stop some people making money out of social housing but it will also put even more families out of their homes. The government needs to stop this assault on people on benefits.
1. Social Housing Waiting List statistics: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/2039614.xls
2. CIH Map here: http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2012/01/01/Housing_Benefit.pdf