The 500-year waiting list for homes

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A UNION is calling for more homes to be built in Wigan after it was revealed it would take up to 500 years to clear local waiting lists!

Unison has worked out that with the current rate of building - based on 10 council houses being completed last year - and 3,591 people on the council’s official waiting list, it could take 359 years for the register to be cleared.

But the period could be 500 years if the number of tenants currently in properties and wanting to relocate is taken into account, which boosts the number of people waiting to around 5,000.

In the North West, there were 238,808 people on authority waiting lists and housing associations and councils started building just 1,090 new homes in 2012.

As a result, Unison demands that 10,000 new properties be built in the region to ease the shortfall and boost the economy, creating 75,000 jobs and contributing £4bn to area.

Kevan Nelson, head of Unison in the North West, said: “A bold programme of house building is what the North West needs to pull out of recession and end the misery of families being stuck on the housing waiting list for many years. Investing money will boost jobs, the economy and get families out of unsuitable accommodation. The Government should step in.”

But despite the high figures, Wigan Council said it was fully committed to providing social housing to its tenants.

Peter Layland, the local authority’s head of housing, said: “Wigan Council prides itself in meeting the housing needs of the area and we currently have a very modest waiting list for accommodation.

“Together with Wigan and Leigh Housing, we have built more than 100 new homes in recent years and are about to start new schemes in Whelley and Hindley, which will produce 70 more council properties. Plans are also in place to build a further 250 new homes over the next few years.

“Housing associations and developers are to develop a further 130 homes in the coming year, including a big development at Seven Drive.

“The council has a mortgage scheme and is active in the national First Buy initiative to increase access to home ownership.”