The rise in empty homes and properties over recent years has been a scandal when the national housing shortage is considered. I know from my surgeries how many people are waiting to be re-housed, so I urged the Government to take steps to help.
Although the number of homes empty for six months in the Dover district has fallen sharply, to 872, do Ministers agree that a lot more work is needed to undo the damage of the past in Dover? In 2005, there were 674 empty homes. I urge the fastest possible action. During the same time, the social housing waiting list has grown by 14%.
I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend that it is an urgent task to get empty homes back into use, particularly affordable use. Often, the waiting lists facing many local authorities could be shortened if those authorities tackled empty homes vigorously. That is why we have provided the new homes bonus as a reward and are investing £100 million to switch empty homes to affordable homes.
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
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