NEW figures reveal that more than 400 people waiting for social housing in Basildon are living in appalling conditions in temporary accommodation.

Basildon Council had 421 households on its waiting list who were identified as staying in unsanitary, overcrowded or unsatisfactory living conditions at the end of March 2019.

​They formed part of 1,035 households on the list, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government statistics – although this was an 11 per cent decrease from the total number waiting a year previously.

The housing charity Shelter has expressed outrage at families across England left in desperate need while councils are “haemorrhaging” thousands of social homes.

​The opposite pattern was seen across England as a whole, where the number on waiting lists rose by 4 per cent, to 1.2 million.

​Of those, more than one in five were being forced to wait in substandard accommodation.

Shelter's own analysis of government figures showed a net loss of more than 17,000 social homes last year, with sales and demolitions outweighing new builds.

The charity is calling for investment in a new generation of social housing to be reflected in the government’s forthcoming budget.

Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “With over a million families in desperate need of social housing, it is absolutely outrageous that we are haemorrhaging thousands of secure social homes every year.

“All the while families are forced to live in overcrowded conditions, single parents are making the impossible choice of eating or paying the rent, and children are growing up homeless in grim B&Bs."

Shelter said this was partly down to a change to the law in 2011, which allowed councils to set their own rules for who to accept onto them in the first place.

Government figures also show that, of all new social rent households with a known waiting time in 2018-19, 48 per cent had been on the list for at least a year before securing a new home.

However, a government spokeswoman, said: "141,000 new social homes had been created since 2010.

“Last year we delivered more homes than any year in the last 30 years and will deliver a million more in this parliament.

“We abolished the borrowing cap so councils can build more social homes, giving families the chance to find somewhere safe and secure.”

The number of households on council housing waiting lists has dropped by 34 per cent over the last decade."

A spokesman at Basildon Council, said: “Basildon council are proud to say that Shelter’s statement does not represent the services we provide. 

“Basildon council is currently accommodating over 500 households in temporary accommodation, none of which are in unsanitary or statutorily overcrowded conditions. 

“Our temporary accommodation is of a high standard, and is almost entirely housing owned by the council or partner agencies, with self-contained facilities. 

“We rarely uses B&B accommodation – only doing so where there are no alternatives available. Less than 1% of the households in temporary accommodation are in B&B accommodation. 

“When the council does need to use temporary accommodation, families are never kept in B&Bs for longer than six weeks before being moved (in line with statutory requirements). 

“The numbers of households in temporary accommodation show Basildon’s commitment to always accommodate those affected by homelessness, where we have a duty to do so.

“Despite being in the midst of a national housing crisis, Basildon continues to provide a high number of successful outcomes every year through initiatives such as our Property Solutions, Rent Start, property buy-back and downsizing schemes.”