Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Such A Waste

Whilst Boris Johnson swoons over glamourous plans for post 2012 east London, including building thousands of new homes, Inside Housing reports the biggest rise in empty homes in 17 years. The Empty Homes Agency also reports that there's nearly a million empty homes throughout the UK as part of Inside Housing's campaign to increase awareness of the issue.

We have millions of people on housing waiting lists, we have thousands of the homeless, we have hundreds of thousands of empty houses blighting our neighbourhoods and all the time politicians are calling for ever more green spaces to be consumed in the bid to build new homes! Wouldn't it be more cost effective, and better for communities, to bring empty homes back into circulation and build only enough homes to meet the residual demand? I'm sure amazing savings could be made by using the money allocated for affordable homes on bringing these homes back up to scratch?

Why not sign the petition over at Number 10's website to show support for the three main principles:

VAT - a cut in VAT on repairs and maintenance to 5 per cent, to make it more attractive for owners to invest in an empty home, or for a potential buyer to make an offer

Grant – use cash from existing Homes and Communities Agency budget for social landlords to buy and repair long-term empty properties

Guidance – clearer advice from the government to help councils use Empty Dwelling Management Orders

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