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Are Labour leaving houses empty and blocking private new builds?

Labour leaders in London were recently accused of letting council houses remain vacant while simultaneously blocking the private sector from building new homes.

Conservatives claimed that in Labour boroughs, there were thousands of homes and flats gathering dust despite a backlog of families desperately needing a place to live.

But at the same time, they pointed out, Labour-run local authorities turned down plans that could have resulted in 16,000 new homes being built in London, making a significant dent in the housing shortage.

These accusations appeared on the eve of elections throughout London, whose boroughs have chosen housing as an area to contest the most.

Government figures suggest that London’s Labour boroughs occupy seven spaces in the top 20 councils for vacant council home totals. There were 789 empty homes in Southwark, which was the highest in the country and left 6,665 families waiting for a place to call home. Greenwich had 12,000 families waiting and 639 empty homes. The top 20 also included Camden, with 610 vacant properties and Newham, which has 586.

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According to Tory MP Chris Philp, thousands of homes are lying empty when there are families who desperately need them. He ascribed the situation to “Labour’s incompetence” and advised the party to manage their councils more diligently so resources stop being wasted and homes are provided for people.

Mr. Philp accused Labour councils of blocking housebuilding plans. In Haringey a redevelopment that would have resulted in 6,400 new homes was brought to a halt by Momentum group left-wingers who support Jeremy Corbyn. Labour leader Claire Kober was forced to resign in the wake of the resulting row.

Labour attacked the criticism, pointing out that their record was better in reality because their boroughs had a lot more council homes than the Tory ones.

They claimed that the empty homes in Southwark accounted for only 2% of its over 38,000 council properties and accused Tories of trying to distract from the Government taking away council powers to compel empty homes to be made available for occupation.

Specialists in Construction Insurance


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