The London borough with a '50-year waiting list' for council houses

People in a deprived east London borough now face a 50-year wait for a council house, a senior councillor from the area says in BBC documentary.

Maureen Worby, the councillor in charge of social care for Barking and Dagenham, tells a meeting of local people they have to wait a decade for a council home, before adding: “Do you know what – it’s not a 10-year wait, it’s a 50-year wait.”

Barking and Dagenham has seen almost 20,000 of its homes sold since the right-to-buy policy was introduced 1980, about half its total housing stock. It has 50 times more people on the housing waiting list than properties available.

The BBC documentary, which will be broadcast on Wednesday, also includes the council’s leader saying he is unable to afford a house in a borough where theaverage property now costs £270,000. Darren Rodwell is also shown at a council meeting where he warns that London as whole is becoming “not sustainable for the most vulnerable”.

No Place to Call Home is the culmination of nine months a BBC crew spent following housing officials and the people they are trying to help in the borough. Among those featured are a 54-year-old special needs teacher forced to sleep in her car after losing her job, a family with a young son who have spent three years sleeping on friends’ sofas and a young woman who does not qualify for help despite having tried to kill herself.

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