Monday, 31 August 2015

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Fall in the number of affordable properties being built in Cumbria

The number of affordable homes being built in parts of Cumbria has slumped.

Just 24 new starts were made across Copeland between April 2011 and March this year, 65 in South Lakeland and none in Barrow.

It compares to 19 in Barrow the previous comparable 12 months, 63 in Copeland and 83 in the South Lakeland.

The figures were published for the first time on a local level by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said by 2020, 1.5 million more young people would be unable to buy, flooding the rental market.

As well as schemes getting under way, the number of completed affordable homes were also published. There was a fall from 62 to 14 completions in Barrow, 46 to 37 in Copeland, and 40 to 37 in South Lakeland between April 2010 to March 2011, and April 2011 and March 2012.

Nationally only 15,598 affordable homes were started, a decrease of 68 per cent on the previous year.

But the Government insisted the numbers were up in the second half of the year.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: “Far from the predictions of the doom merchants, the figures show work has started on over 15,000 new affordable homes since last September – a massive increase on the previous six month period.”

But Jack Dromey, Labour’s Housing spokesman, has lodged a complaint with the UK Statistics Authority that said Mr Shapps was guilty of persistent “misrepresentation and misuse” of official figures.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said: “There is a chronic need for housing in our area and it is absolutely essential we now step up our efforts.”

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