But Roger Harding, head of policy for Shelter England, insists that empty homes are only a part of the solution to the country\’s housing shortage: \”You have to remember that we have about 5 million people who are waiting for council house accommodation. That is the issue we need to address.\”
I\’m willing to believe that there are 5 million people on council house waiting lists, yes. But not that there are 5 million requiring a council house.
Given that the subsidy to (to take an extreme case) a three bedroom council house in Westminster is £20,000 a year or so that 5 million number actually looks low.
Who wouldn\’t put their name on a list for the chance of, however remote, £20k a year?
What we have is a large number of people who would like a government handout, not necessarily a large number of people who need housing.