Shropshire Council received more than half a million pounds in funding from the ministry of housing last year. The funding was for Discretionary Housing Payments, which help those struggling to meet housing costs, including advance rent and removal bills and people that need a top up to ensure benefits cover the rent charged.
What did the council do with its £531,974 grant? It sent more than half of the money back to Whitehall.
I’ll pass that by you again. Shropshire Council thinks that there is so little need for short term housing support in our county it thinks it has the luxury of sending money back to the government. It gave back £300,000 last year. Only six out of more than 300 councils in England and Wales give back a higher proportion of their grant. This scandal is hurting people in Shropshire who struggle with housing costs. Yet you won’t find any information about it on the council website.
Continue reading “The housing scandal Shropshire Council is hiding – it gives most the money it gets for struggling people back to Whitehall”
Shropshire is getting serious about building homes. That’s good news but we councillors will need to study the detail carefully. All developments should include affordable housing and all should meet the highest green standards.
Continue reading “Shropshire Council is planning to set up a company to build homes – it must build affordable and green homes”
“Housing is the first social service.” But Shropshire’s housing statistics make an uncomfortable read. They suggest we are not providing the housing social service our residents need.
It’s Catch 22 here in Shropshire. Over the years, we have built homes that are larger than average. That means that four in ten homes in the county have two or more spare bedrooms. Many older people would like to downsize but they can’t find suitable smaller housing in the villages and market towns they live in. That in turn means that growing families can’t move into bigger homes. The shortage of smaller houses means that younger people cannot afford homes near where they live and work. It also pushes up rents and prevents people getting onto the housing ladder.
Continue reading “It’s Rural Housing Week – Shropshire Council must commit to building more affordable and smaller housing”
The government has announced that it will allow local councils to borrow more £1 billion to build new council houses. Not a penny of this will be available to Shropshire.
This is yet another blow delivered by Westminster. Most housing developments in our county do not pay affordable housing contributions after ministers decreed that small developments should be exempt from the levee. Now it is using a statistical trick to bar us from accessing funds to build new council housing.
Shropshire needs 6,000 additional affordable houses to bring it up to the national average provision. That would all but wipe out the county’s housing waiting list. But rural areas like ours are not on the government’s radar.
Continue reading “We need affordable housing in Shropshire but will lose out because of a government statistical trick”
Every day we hear about the housing crisis. Politicians tell us we must build more housing urgently. Yet they say next to nothing about empty homes. There are more than 600,000 empty homes in England, enough to cut the housing waiting list by half.
Here in Shropshire, there are 4,375 empty homes. That’s more than 3% of the county’s housing stock. If they were brought back into use, they could provide homes for four in five of the households on the waiting list.
More than a third of the empty homes in Shropshire have been vacant for six months or more. It’s shocking that nearly 200 council and social homes are empty.
Continue reading “Why is no progress being made on tackling empty homes in Shropshire?”