Why homes Rescue scheme is needed

SIR – Letter writer Peter Bell wrote to express his concern that the scheme I launched with David Cameron recently. The Empty Property Rescue scheme is designed to get some of the record 1.8 million families languishing on the housing waiting lists into

SIR - Letter writer Peter Bell wrote to express his concern that the scheme I launched with David Cameron recently.

The Empty Property Rescue scheme is designed to get some of the record 1.8 million families languishing on the housing waiting lists into the one million empty homes in Britain today.

Mr Bell's concern was that we would somehow be asking people to live in "uninhabitable" houses. This is absolutely not the case.

What we have said is that if these homes are good enough for private rent or sale, then with so many homeless on record waiting lists, it's more important to provide a decent roof over someone's head, than to worry about whether they conform to the more stringent space and other standards applied to social housing.


You may also want to watch:


In fact, it might surprise your readers to learn that a home which is considered perfectly good enough for someone to purchase or rent privately, may not be legally considered okay for someone desperately in need of affordable rented housing.

Our scheme would relax these restrictive rules for the purposes of this Empty Property Rescue programme only and the houses which are brought back into use would have housing associations or councils as landlords.

Most Read

Labour has built fewer affordable homes in every one of its 12 years in office than the last Conservative government built each year.

That lack of housing has led to massive waiting lists.

If I become housing minister then I'm not prepared to allow rules and regulations which help keep properties empty, while many go without a decent roof over their heads, to get in the way of tackling the all time high housing waiting list that is, I'm afraid, Labour's legacy.

Grant Shapps MP

Welwyn Hatfield.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter