Why is no progress being made on tackling empty homes in Shropshire?

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.

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Shropshire Council wants to know your housing needs – please take part in the survey

The waiting list for affordable housing in Shropshire stood at 5,370 households last year. The council says that the housing waiting list does not include all those that need housing. It acknowledges there are households that haven’t identified their need because they are reluctant to give the information.

To address this, the council has launched the Right Home, Right Place website – https://www.righthomerightplace.co.uk/. The aim is to make it easier for people to give the council information on what housing they need and where they need it. The survey covers all types of housing, social, market and private rental.

I would urge everyone who needs housing or might soon need it to complete the online housing needs survey. This is particularly important for people in rural in the south of the county. If we don’t make our voice heard we won’t get the housing we need.

Cuts become cruel as Shropshire Council moves to reduce payments to needy adults

Is this a necessary cut or just a cruel cut? Shropshire Council is scheming to reduce the minimum income guarantee for the neediest adults. Of course, budgets are tight. Other councils pay less to needy people than Shropshire. So as always, Shropshire Council is following the pack to the back rather than leading from the front.

We should support the most vulnerable and impoverished in our society, not pay council executives more.

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Shropshire council top execs to get up to 50% pay rises while giving their staff 6%

It wasn’t the finest day in Shropshire Council’s history. Last Thursday, Conservative councillors, supported by many of the Labour group, gave the chief executive an increase in pay from £103,000 to £150,000 a year (46%). The directors that report to the chief executive will get a pay increase from £101,000 to as much £130,000 (up to 29% increase).

The rest of the staff will get an average of 6% increase, as part of a national pay award and to bring Shropshire pay rates in line with national rates for council employees.

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Pothole plague is more down to the catastrophic collapse of our roads than the severe winter

I was amazed to hear a spokesman for Keir tell BBC Radio Shropshire last week that the winter just past was “one of the worst in living memory.” Nonsense. It doesn’t compare with 2009/10, which was the coldest winter since 1979. I remember both.

We didn’t get as many potholes in 2010. That was because our roads were in a better condition.

Now far too many of Shropshire’s roads are at the point of catastrophic failure because of constant budget cuts. It only takes a spell of nasty weather, and that’s normal in this part of the world, for potholes to breed like a plague of rats. You only need to drive along Sheet Road to witness this.

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