NEW government figures released this month have revealed a net loss of 12,000 social homes in England last year, as sales and demolitions continue to surpass the number of homes built.

The figures also show:

  • 22,023 social homes were either sold or demolished last year in England, yet just 9,561 social homes were built – a net loss of 12,462 homes.
  • In the past ten years, there has been a total loss of 177,487 social homes.
  • 1.28 million households in England are currently stuck on council waiting lists for a social home.

This follows news that the government plans to further restrict access to social housing for some through their ‘British homes for British workers’ scheme, rather than acknowledging the chronic lack of social homes. Currently, 90 per cent of social homes are let to British citizens.

The statistics come as the government also publishes its latest data on ‘no fault’ evictions, which show an 26 per cent increase in Section 21 evictions across England and Wales in 2023 compared with the previous year – as the chronic shortage of social homes forces more low-income households into the insecure and unaffordable private rented sector.

Responding to the figures Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “It’s disgraceful to see the number of social homes continue to be decimated. This is robbing over a million households stuck on council waiting lists of the opportunity of a safe home.

“This scarcity of social homes means that many councils are running out of options – with some even having to consider closing waiting lists due to demand. With nowhere else to go, tens of thousands of households are being forced into poor quality temporary accommodation like hostels and B&Bs or finding themselves at the mercy of the unaffordable private renting sector, where they can be evicted at a moment’s notice.

“The system is at breaking point. We need to see a major programme of social housebuilding – reaching at least 90,000 homes per year – if we are to tackle homelessness for good. Only through this decisive action will we be able to give people the safety and security of a real home.”

* Read the figures on social housing sales and demolitions in England here.

* Source: Crisis