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Mike's Ilford Recorder Column (06/10/2016)

Every week I am contacted by people with desperate housing problems: Families in damp poorly maintained crowded rooms in converted properties, people with children in local schools who have been moved to temporary hotels near Heathrow Airport, or those facing eviction due to increased private rents.

This is not just a Redbridge or London crisis. England has nearly three million additional renters since 2010, who are paying £1,548 more on average every year in rent. 900,000 more families now rent privately than in 2010, including one in four families with children.

Many families do not have the security they need. Homes built for social rent are at their lowest level. The government failed to deliver a promised one-for-one replacement for council homes sold through right-to-buy - instead, only one is being built for every eight sold.

Rough sleeping has doubled and overall homelessness acceptances are up by a third since 2010. It is increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder. The dream of home ownership is out of reach for many. House building has fallen to its lowest peacetime rate since 1920s. There are over 200,000 fewer homeowners since 2010. Under-35s who own their home has fallen by a fifth. Homes built for affordable ownership since 2010 have decreased by nearly 30 per cent.

Our country needs urgent government action: A million new homes, with at least half a million council homes for rent, an end to insecurity for private renters and increased access to affordable home ownership.

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