Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk calls for affordable housing

An MP has said the government should do more to tackle a shortage of affordable housing in Greater Manchester.

It is estimated that tens of thousands of people are waiting for council homes in the region.

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, believes the scrapping of the Housing Market Renewal Scheme (HMRS) has worsened the situation.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said the problems had been caused by "Labour's disastrous attempts at regeneration".

HMRS was introduced under the Labour government in 2002 to invest £1bn over 15 years into new housing in deprived areas including Rochdale, Oldham, Salford and Manchester.

'Creating misery'

The scheme was scrapped by the Conservative government in October 2010.

Mr Danczuk said the withdrawal halfway through its course left some communities "abandoned" as streets were cleared of some tenants who were re-housed, while other residents were left behind in partially empty neighbourhoods.

Under the scheme poor housing was earmarked for demolition and the tenants were to be re-housed in newly-built homes.

Mr Danczuk said: "It's particularly bad in Rochdale because housing market renewal funding has stopped.

"We have families in communities living next to boarded up houses and they've effectively been abandoned.

"The sad thing about this is that over the years, the government has put money into housing market renewal and we started to see a real return on that.

"We saw new and improved housing being developed in Rochdale, but this government having now stopped that means we now see whole communities abandoned and that's creating a misery for the people of Rochdale."

'Parked the bulldozers'

Housing minister Grant Shapps said: "It's certainly been tough picking up the pieces after Labour's disastrous attempts at regeneration, which amounted to bulldozing buildings and knocking down neighbourhoods in some of the most deprived areas of the country, whilst desperately hoping someone might come along to reorder the rubble.

"The top-down strategy of destruction pitted neighbour against neighbour and left families trapped in abandoned streets.

"That's why we've parked the bulldozers, and started shifting the balance in favour of communities themselves.

"We'll shortly be announcing additional funding to help those people living in the worst-affected streets, and we'll continue to untie the hands of councils and residents so they can make the key decisions over how they would like to improve their own neighbourhoods."

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