MPs hold advice surgeries and hear first-hand the concerns of their constituents. I am, therefore, surprised that there was no mention of tackling the social housing waiting list crisis in this year’s King’s Speech.

In Bolton, there are 20,000 people on the "Homes for Bolton" waiting list managed by the council, with an average 18-month average waiting list for 3-bedroom houses and an even longer wait for the rare 4-bedroom properties that come available.

On average there are 800 to 900 individual bids for every 3 bedroom house that becomes available in Bolton.

Nationally, over 1 million people sit waiting on housing lists. The Tory Government has put only 33,500 houses back into the social housing system.

I am informed that only those on the waiting list who are at risk of being made homeless are being considered for newly-available houses.

While it is right for those people to be prioritised locally, it highlights that social housing is becoming only for those in the most desperate of circumstances. It is no longer a viable option in the housing market that it should be for the vast majority of my constituents.

Social housing should not solely be emergency housing but for a diverse range of working people. Currently, this is far from the case.

Many families who come to see me are stuck in temporary accommodation for a prolonged time period with no timeframe given to them for a permanent move.

The local Housing Associations just do not have the properties available and the ones they do have are falling into disrepair due to the lack of revenue. Due to the cost of living crisis, Housing Associations in Bolton are taking longer to turn around their most difficult void properties, creating an even bigger backlog on the waiting list.

We have seen the return of shutters on empty properties, which had become a rarer site in the previous decade.

Due to the lack of social housing, Bolton Council is pointing people not in the highest priority to the private rental market. Monthly rents have skyrocketed in Bolton as they have across the country. The cheapest private rented 3-bedroom property in Bolton on Rightmove now hovers in the region of 50% of the average monthly income for a Boltonian. This is not sustainable.

The King’s Speech promises the reforms to the private rented sector that were supposed to be implemented in the previous Parliament. I will believe it when I see. 

The Tory Government has never prioritised housing. Labour will build 300,000 new homes and stop the selling-off of social housing stock without replacing the numbers back into the system. We will also put in place proper reforms of the private rented sector and leasehold. This is an action plan to fix social housing and the wider housing market.