Bury Labour have condemned the shocking news that £817m, allocated for desperately needed affordable housing for cash-strapped local authorities, has been returned to the Treasury due to being unspent by the Government.
The surrender of the unused cash has astonished the country at a time when the Government has insisted housebuilding is a top priority and when many local authorities are becoming mired in ever deeper financial crises.
Not only this, but the homelessness crisis has become increasingly more severe with areas like Greater Manchester seeing the numbers skyrocket since 2010.
In Bury, there has been a 79% increase in the number of people presenting to the Council as homeless over the past 7 years.
A key part of this is the lack of affordable housing being built and the decreasing number of Council Houses due to Government restrictions on Local Authorities building new properties.
For the last 30 years, councils have cut back council house building in the face of severe budget cuts and have been discouraged from building by the government’s “right to buy” scheme.
Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Eamonn O'Brien, slammed the news of the unspent cash saying: "We keep hearing the rhetoric from the Tories about housing but their actions completely betray their total incompetence on this issue. It is simply not good enough for the Government to sit back and complain but do little to actually fix our broken housing system."