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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

What a fool believes

During Commons questions to the Communities and Local Government Ministers the Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey said: "Under Labour, homlessness fell by 70%." There are many different definitions used, but the generally accepted one is of statutory homelessness. Those are households placed in temporary accommodation by local authorities who have accepted them as homeless under the 1996 Housing Act. In the second quarter of 1997 there were 43,720 such households. In the second quarter of 2010 there were 50,400 such households. I make that a 15.33% increase. Last month Dromey wrote a long letter to the UK Statistics Authority claiming that figures released by the Government were misleading. Among the queries from Mr Dromey was whether the number of social homes for rent hand fallen by 40,000 or 200,000 during Labour's term of office. Neither, came the reply, it was 421,000. The reply says: "There is a statistical series for the annual additions to this stock (which is quoted in Mr. Dromey’s letter) but these figures do not take account of losses, which would be much more difficult to record. Official estimates of net change are available for social rented dwellings, but not for the wider stock of ‘affordable’ housing beyond this category. They show an overall reduction of 421,000 in the stock of homes rented from local authorities and housing associations over the period 1997 to 2010."

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