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Greens call for action on “social housing crisis”

At the Full Council meeting yesterday (Tuesday 13th December), Bradford Council voted to take action to tackle the social housing crisis in the city following proposals from a Green Party councillor.

Councillor Matt Edwards stood on a bank overlooking Holmewood, a former council housing estate made up of 70s style houses and two tower blocks.

The proposals were put forward by Councillor Matt Edwards, leader of the Green Group and a  councillor for Tong Ward, which has one of the highest concentrations of social housing in the district and one of the longest wait times.

Councillor Edwards highlighted that there were 1191 households on the top priority waiting list - which includes families covered by homeless legislation. The average time these families were waiting had reached on average 256 days - nearly eight and a half months. 

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Edwards said, “This isn’t a new problem - successive governments have failed to provide good quality social housing in the places that people need them - And Bradford is no different in this respect.

“Whilst it is very easy to talk statistics,for each of the households in those top three bands there is a story. Many of us in this chamber will have been confronted with a resident at breaking point being let down by a system which is frankly broken.

“There are many families waiting to be housed for reasons outside their control; whether they are fleeing domestic violence,or their house is too small because they have had children, or where disability has meant their house is not suitable.”

Overall, data from Bradford Council shows there are nearly 10,000 households across Bradford District deemed as a priority for housing.

After the meeting, Councillor Edwards said, “I am pleased that Bradford Council have agreed that there is a crisis when it comes to social housing in our city. I am however, very disappointed that the Labour group has stripped out the urgent action we are proposing here.

“In Leeds, 556 affordable houses were completed last year but here in Bradford we only built around a quarter of that [Data Available From Here]. Even York, which is a much smaller local authority run by Greens with the Lib Dems, managed to build more social housing than Bradford did. If we continue at this pace, we will never come anywhere close to tackling the waiting list.

“If we accept there is a crisis, and what we have been doing hasn’t been addressing those issues, then we need to do something different. But Labour were more interested in political point scoring than tackling the issue and helping desperate families in Bradford find a suitable, affordable home.”

A copy of the motion is available from here.