'Come on Theresa, build more social homes': campaigner's plea after Northampton's B&B bill leaps by more than £120k a month

A housing campaigner in Northampton has called on Theresa May to make a firm commitment on building social homes after figures revealed Northampton is spending around £130,000 a month placing families in bed and breakfasts.

Friday, 9th June 2017, 6:00 pm
Updated Friday, 9th June 2017, 6:05 pm
Northampton housing campaigner Norman Adams has called for the new Conservative Government to give the town what it needs - more social homes.

A Freedom of Information request has shown that Northampton Borough Council spent an astonishing £269,095 placing at-risk families in emergency accommodation in April and May alone this year.

In 2013 that figure was just 20,463 over the same two-month period.

Norman Adams, a prominent housing campaigner in Northampton believes Labour's manifesto pledge to freeze right to buy sales and build more than half-a-million social homes would have helped avert a national 'crisis'.

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But with Theresa May's Conservatives now likely to form a working majority alongside the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland - Mr Adams has called on the Tories to firm up their housebuilding commitments.

The party pledged to build 1.5 million new homes in its manifesto - but U-turned over plans to build a new generation of social housing.

Mr Adams said: "With the borough council buying the odd home here and the odd home there we are still around 400 down from five years ago

"That's why this hotel bill is going up and up.

"At the next council meeting I will be asking the party how the hell it intends to get this number under control.

"There is a massive human cost to having so many people who are not settled."

The Conservatives were accused of U-turning on a flagship pledge to build 'a new generation' of social housing announced in their manifesto before the election.

Theresa May personally said her policy would deliver 'a constant supply of new homes for social rent', but her housing minister Gavin Barwell later admitted planned homes would, in fact, be of a significantly less affordable type.

Mr Barwell lost his Greater Manchester seat in the General Election.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that social housing is facing a slow death due to right to buy sales, stating that 88,000 homes will be lost to thesector by the end of the decade.

Here in Northampton figures have revealed that in the last five years Northampton Borough Council has sold 457 properties, including 125 in the last year alone.

"The Conservative manifesto is a disaster housing wise," added Mr Adams, who ran for the Save Northants Services party in the county council elections. "This issue is only going to get worse if it keeps on like this."