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Council Housing: Greater London

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2009, Official Report, column 1278W, on council housing: Greater London, what data her Department routinely collects on the number of people (a) on housing waiting lists and (b) in housing need; and if she will make a statement. (256663)

Local authorities report summary information about their housing waiting list in Section C of their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) returns. The latest available data are at April 2008. These include the total number of households (rather than people) on the housing register and a breakdown of their bedroom requirements. A question was recently added requesting the number of households on the waiting list in any reasonable preference category. Information is collected at local authority level.

A link to the table presenting the number of households on the housing waiting list in each local authority is as follows:

Further information on the number of households on the local authority housing waiting lists for England, including the full HSSA datasets, can be accessed from the statistical release ‘Local Authority Housing Statistics England: 2007-08: Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) and Business Plan Statistical Appendix (BPSA)’. This was published on 22 January 2009 on the Communities and Local Government website at:

Copies of the statistical release and live table have been deposited in the Library.

Not everyone on the waiting list is necessarily in urgent housing need. The waiting list includes those who consider social housing as their preferred or one of a number of housing options, and those who decide to get onto the waiting list ladder before they need or want to move house—particularly where the priority system is heavily based on waiting time. The size of the waiting list is not an indicator of absolute need, it is only useful as a broad indicator of housing demand in an area.

Currently no information is collected on housing need. A new analytical model is currently being developed to improve the Department's capacity to estimate the number and type of households with some form of housing related need.