Latest government figures show Southwark is still the ‘Empty Homes Capital’, with eight hundred more Southwark homes empty than last year, bringing the full number to 6,761. This is more than neighbouring Lambeth, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets combined, far more than any other London Borough, and almost double the number for the whole of Manchester.
At the same time, 11,000 families are on the council house waiting list, alongside a wider housing crisis of ever-rising rents caused in part by not enough available homes.
The amount of empty homes has increased dramatically in the last four years, though the Labour-run council responded by cutting the number of dedicated Empty Homes officers right down to one.
Cllr Hamish McCallum, Southwark Liberal Democrat housing spokesperson said:
‘The number of our homes that lie empty has risen hugely in the last few years, but even I was shocked by the latest massive jump. With a housing crisis and 11,000 families on the council house waiting list, the complacent Labour council has let the crisis spiral out of control. They even thought cutting the number of Empty Homes Officers right down to one was a good idea!
We’ve been pushing Labour to get a grip and establish an Empty Homes Unit but they’ve stubbornly refused to act. The only good thing from these figures is that it might finally prompt Labour to take up the idea despite it coming from us, though sadly given their past record on things like opposing our plans for a specialist knife-crime unit and a hub for rough sleepers, we’re not holding our breath.’
Notes for editors:
- The full data set can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/784593/LT_615.xls
- Southwark: 6761
- Lewisham: 2458
- Lambeth: 1910
- Tower Hamlets: 1832
- Manchester: 3732
- The full number of families on the housing register is 10,997